VoxEU Column Politics and economics

Special Issue of Economic Policy on stereotypes, attitudes and discrimination

Recent campaigns such as Black Lives Matter and #MeToo highlight the urgent need for a deeper understanding of persistent economic differences across different social groups. In an increasingly diverse society, insight into what underpins gaps along lines of race, ethnicity and gender, and the role of perceptions in driving conduct, is imperative. Similarly, the assessment of policies designed to tackle these issues is essential. With the aim of informing this discussion, the Managing Editors of Economic Policy are opening a call for papers for a special issue on “Stereotypes, Attitudes and Discrimination” to bring together the best ideas to inform the debate and provide high-impact policy advice.

The existence of economic and social gaps across socioeconomic and demographic groups continues to be a central focus of academic and policy debate (e.g. Alesina et al. 2019, Bertocchi and Dimico 2020, Grosjean et al 2021). Whether we look across countries, sectors, or firms, differences across certain groups (such as, gender, ethnicity, and race) have shown to be persistent over time. With an increasingly diverse society, more research is needed to understand the importance of stereotypes – how individuals are perceived – and discrimination to understand how they shape attitudes and behaviour, as well as the policies designed to address these issues.

While these questions are not new, recent widespread campaigning for racial and gender equality highlight a growing unrest towards the unequal treatment of different social and demographic groups. Continuing disparity in economic, educational, health and other outcomes, call into question the role played by stereotypes, attitudes, and discrimination. An important first step is to identify the problems and then to assess, design and test policies (past and present), to help tackle them and to guide policymakers to better foster equality in the future. 

Call to impact: The Special Issue

Economic Policy is the only pan-European high-impact policy journal, and the ideal platform for this transformational debate. As its Managing Editors, we think that our profession has important insights to share with society and an important role to play in addressing how to design policy to properly deal with the challenges posed by persistent gaps observed across different social and demographic groups. 

We are calling for contributions to a Special Issue on "Stereotypes, Attitudes, and Discrimination". Successful articles will address the fundamental challenges and aim at high impact in the policy debate. The editors are looking for theoretical and empirical contributions that combine rigorous research with distinct policy messages. This special issue aspires to reflect the full breadth of the intersection of these topics and their relevance in the economy, including:

  • Labour markets
  • Educational settings
  • Policing and judiciary system
  • Globalisation and immigration
  • Healthcare and health outcomes 
  • Religion and multiculturalism

For this Special Issue, the Managing Editors will be joined by an outstanding Guest Editor, Barbara Petrongolo. Successful papers will be invited for presentation at a high-profile policy event in April 2022. The deadline for submission of papers via our online submission system (https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/ecpol) is 30th September 2021.


Alesina, A, M Carlana, E La Ferrara and P Pinotti (2019), “Revealing implicit stereotypes”, VoxEU.org, 2 February.

Bertocchi, G and A Dimico (2020), “Race and the COVID-19 pandemic", VoxEU.org, 29 July. 

Grosjean, P, F Masera and H Yousaf (2021), “Racial prejudice, dog-whistle politics, and police behaviour”, VoxEU.org, 23 January.

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