The good, the bad, the ugly: reducing economic bias

Economics is biased, and there’s a study to prove it. If the discipline remains so, we risk its credibility and ignore those in need. Something has to change.

The study “US and them: The Geography of Academic Research” from the Journal of Development Economics, cited in The Economist’s The Useful Science? looked at 76,000 economic papers from 1985 to 2000. The study’s title gives it away, the bias swings stateside. More precisely, it found that between those years, more academic papers were focused on the USA than Europe, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa put together.

This kind of bias is questionable on two levels. The first is that the USA is but one of 193 countries currently claiming UN statehood, and the second is that it is not necessarily a model for those other 192  countries. More papers need to assess the good, the bad, (and the ugly), the globe over. This would help us to analyse what works and why (in thriving countries) and, as The Economist states, benefit poorer economies by generating policies based on research rather than on political paradigms.

I hope that ECON+ can play its part in reducing that bias by injecting some of the economic boldness that The Economist also calls for.

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