DP16115 Race-related Research in Economics and Other Social Sciences

Author(s): Arun Advani, Elliott Ash, David Cai, Imran Rasul
Publication Date: May 2021
Keyword(s):
JEL(s): A11, Z13
Programme Areas: Labour Economics, Public Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=16115

How does economics compare to other social sciences in its study of issues related to race and ethnicity? We assess this using a corpus of 500,000 academic publications in economics, political science, and sociology. Using an algorithmic approach to classify race-related publications, we document that economics lags far behind the other disciplines in the volume and share of race-related research, despite having higher absolute volumes of research output. Since 1960, there have been 13,000 race-related publications in sociology, 4,000 in political science, and 3,000 in economics. Since around 1970, the share of economics publications that are race-related has hovered just below 2% (although the share is higher in top-5 journals); in political science the share has been around 4% since the mid-1990s, while in sociology it has been above 6% since the 1960s and risen to over 12% in the last decade. Finally, using survey data collected from the Social Science Prediction Platform, we find economists tend to overestimate the amount of race-related research in all disciplines, but especially so in economics.