Expanding And Diversifying The Pool Of Undergraduates Who Study Economics: Insights From A New Introductory Course At Harvard

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Journal Of Economic Education


Economics does not attract as broad or diverse a pool of talent as it could. For example, women comprise less than one-third of economics bachelor’s degree recipients, significantly lower than in math or statistics. The authors present a case study of a new introductory economics course that enrolled 400 students, achieved nearly 50–50 gender balance, and was among the highest-rated courses at Harvard. They summarize the course’s content and pedagogy, illustrate how this approach differs from traditional courses, and identify elements of the approach that appear to underlie its success: personal connection, real-world exposure, scientific inquiry, career value, and social relevance. They conclude by discussing how these ideas for improving economics instruction could be applied in other courses and tested empirically in future research.


diversity, gender, inclusion, race, undergraduate economic education

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