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Announcing the CEPR Women in Economics Initiative

CEPR is working in partnership with UBS to celebrate contributions of women in economics, with a series of portraits and video interviews on a dedicated website. This programme shines a light on quality research and policymaking from female leaders in their field. "Women in Economics" will feature videos of prominent researchers discussing their work and insights. The content is designed to appeal to non-expert audiences, as well as those with a deeper understanding of economics. Beyond the digital content, the programme will include events for students and economists.

The lack of diversity in the economics profession has received increasing attention from the media and the public and private sectors, with an increasing focus on gender imbalance. Recent economic research has shown negative real effects of a lack of diversity.1 

CEPR too has been making a concerted effort to redress the imbalance in the number of female researchers appointed and of those in academic leadership positions. Some progress has been made, with female researchers in the CEPR network having increased from 19% in 2015 to 23% today. However, clearly more needs to be done, and as Beatrice Weder di Mauro took over as CEPR’s President in 2018, efforts to improve female representation in the economic profession were formalised with the creation of the Women in Economics Initiative. (ubs.com/womenineconomics).

The missing women in economics have become an issue, essentially because their share in academic positions is not progressing. It’s a good time to showcase exceptional female economists and their research to encourage others.”
Beatrice Weder di Mauro.

Led by CEPR’s Vice-President, Hélène Rey, this initiative will aim to redress gender imbalances in the economic profession, partnering with CEPR member organisations to promote women within the field.

One such partnership is being launched with UBS: Women in Economics. Founded on the UBS “Nobel Perspectives” concept, where, since 2015, UBS has been documenting the lives and work of Nobel Prize-winning economists, this partnership will highlight great economic minds and showcase the outstanding contributions they are making. The aspiration is to underline women’s contributions to the field of economics and inspire future generations.  

There are a number of exceptional women who do extremely interesting work in economics, from development to labour, to macroeconomics to finance. So the first thing is that we would like to showcase this exceptional work, because it is interesting and deserves more visibility. Second, we would like to use this CEPR Women in Economics project to create some role models for younger generations of girls and boys because we think that seeing that these women have achieved so much can inspire a lot of people.
Hélène Rey.

The project will be led by a Scientific Committee consisting of CEPR’s President, Beatrice Weder di Mauro; Hélène Rey, CEPR’s Vice-President and Professor of Economics at London Business School; and Jean Tirole, Professor of Economics at Toulouse School of Economics, CEPR Research Fellow and the recipient of the 2014 Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. The committee will select approximately 30 top female researchers, based on excellence and influence in their field, over the course of three years.

I am delighted to support this initiative, which highlights the talent of top female researchers in economics. They are making breakthrough contributions to the field and their stories should inspire others to enter the economics profession.”
Jean Tirole on joining the Scientific Committee of the CEPR-UBS Women in Economics Project. 

Kicking off the series is Belgian economist Marianne Bertrand, the Chris P. Dialynas Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business. Her many honours and awards include the Sherwin Rosen Prize in 2012, awarded for her contributions to labour economics. Her work has covered a number of topics, including racial discrimination, CEO pay and incentives, the effects of regulation on employment, household finance and development economics.

She will be followed in May 2019 by Esther Duflo, the Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Duflo's research on poverty in developing countries has earned her numerous awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship (more commonly known as the "genius grant") in 2009 and the John Bates Clark Medal in 2010.


Baten, J and de Pleijt, A (2019) “Female autonomy generates superstars in long-term development: Evidence from 15th to 19th century Europe”, VoxEU.org, 11 February.

Lagarde, C and J D Ostry (2018), “The macroeconomic benefits of gender diversity”, VoxEU.org, 5 December.

Masciandaro, D, P Profeta and D Romelli (2018), “Why women matter in monetary policymaking”, VoxEU.org, 25 September.


[1] For instance, recent VoxEU columns have shown that the share of senior women in central banks influences monetary policy decisions (Masciandaro et al. 2018), that the gender gap in labour force participation comes at a significant economic cost (Lagarde and Ostry 2018), and that female autonomy can be linked to improved long-term economic growth (Baten and de Pleijt 2019).

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