Diversity in Economics
Undergraduate Women in Economics Challenge
The Undergraduate Women in Economics Challenge (UWE Challenge or UWE), is an initiative started by Claudia Goldin at Harvard University with the goals of raising awareness about the gender gap in economics and increasing the number of female undergraduates majoring in economics. Structuring the project as an RCT, we collaborated with economics departments at 20 US colleges and universities to design and implement interventions to accomplish the goals of the initiative. The interventions can be broadly grouped into one of the following categories: "Better Information", "Mentoring and Role Models", and "Content and Presentation Style"/"Curriculum and Pedagogy".
Working as the project manager for the UWE since 2014, I was involved in the design of the RCT and example interventions and also served as a liaison with the school PIs. I have also assisted in organizing three UWE Conferences. The conferences were an opportunity for faculty and students involved with the UWE initiative on their campus to network with each other and to exchange knowledge about effective intervention strategies.
For more information, see our 2023 NBER working paper "What Did UWE Do for Economics?". You can also read our online appendix, Summary of UWE Treatment School Progress Reports and “Best Practices” Reports.
More UWE resources (click to expand)
UWE history, participating schools, and example interventions for faculty and students who may be interested in implementing them on their own campuses: visit Claudia Goldin's website.
Additional publications and working papers evaluating the impact of UWE interventions, based on individual RCTs implemented by select departments:
Antman, F., Skoy, E., and N. Flores (2021). "Can Better Information Reduce College Gender Gaps? The Impact of Relative Grade Signals on Academic Outcomes for Students in Introductory Economics." Working paper.
Bedard, K., Dodd, J., and S. Lundberg (2021). "Can Positive Feedback Encourage Female and Minority Undergraduates into Economics?" AEA Papers & Proceedings, 111: 128-32.
Halim, D., E. T. Powers, and R. Thornton (2022). "Gender Differences in Economics Course-Taking and Majoring: Findings from an RCT." AEA Papers & Proceedings, 112: 597-602.
Li, H.H. (2018). "Do mentoring, information, and nudges reduce the gender gap in economics majors?" Economics of Education Review, 64: 165-183.
Patnaik, A., G. C. Pauley, J. Venator, and M. J. Wiswall (2023). "The Impacts of Same and Opposite Gender Alumni Speakers on Interest in Economics." NBER Working Paper no. 30983 (January).
Porter, C. and D. Serra (2020). "Gender Differences in the Choice of Major: The Importance of Female Role Models." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 12(3): 226-54.
In Spring 2021, the UWE student club at UW-Madison organized and hosted an online conference, the National Conference on Women in Economics.
Diverse Economics Conference: People, Perspectives, Careers
The Diverse Economics Conference, or DivEc, is an annual conference co-organized by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, the Robins School of Business at the University of Richmond, and the Undergraduate Women in Economics Challenge. The goal of the conference is to provide students with information about the variety of careers available to economists in fields like academia, public policy, consulting, non-profit work, and others. The event also gives students an opportunity to network with research assistants, graduate students, and career professionals. The conference is typically held in the fall. From 2019 to 2021, I have served as one of the conference organizers.
See links below for materials for previous conferences, such as the "Economics in Practice" and "Hot Topics in Economics" video series that were created in collaboration with economists in technology, research institutes, and academia. We hope that you will share these videos with your students who may be interested in economics!
Related: "Widening the Economics Career Path", Speaking of the Economy podcast episode w/ the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond (conversation w/ me and Dr. Maia Linask)