+2 votes
asked ago by (2.3k points)
The  AEA draft document "Conducting Research" in "Back to Best Practices for Diversifying Economic Quality"
announced today  has a box for comment, but we'd all benefit from knowing each other's thoughts on it. See
https://www.aeaweb.org/resources/best-practices/conducting-research#p1  . What do you think?

2 Answers

+2 votes
answered ago by (760 points)
I think it represents an important set of first steps, and it is really good to see this happening in an official setting. I think something worth emphasizing-- for those economists that still think this whole endeavor is not scientifically important-- is that all research is driven by our perspectives as real human beings. What assumptions seem "natural" in a model? What factors are "obviously" unimportant? What variables are "clearly" endogenous? What might be happening in the real world that drives these observations, or confounds them? These kinds of questions are foundational to all research, and they are heavily influenced by our personal experiences and background. By limiting the range of perspectives, we are going to miss really valuable answers to these questions, that we are likely incapable of seeing on our own. I suppose I'd like to see more emphasis on the idea that diversity is not about sacrificing scientific advancement in favor of equality, but rather that diversity is about sacrificing some personal comfort in doing things as we always have in order to advance as a profession.
0 votes
answered ago by (320 points)
edited ago by
I think that most of it is quite sensible and it is definitely good to have more diversity in any field for the reason previous post mentioned so I wont be repeating that. But I am honestly worried about few suggestions like for example making sure that the citations are balanced by diversity criteria. Researchers should cite the papers which they honestly use in their research. I am member of minority group myself and I would be appalled to learn that someone just cited my work because the researcher did not had enough ethnic diversity in the citation list. Also I am not really sure how other academicians approach research but when I am working on some topic I search for papers by subject and number of citations - most of the time I don't have any idea what is the gender, race, sexual orientation etc. of the author and I cite the papers based on whether I build my research on them or not. Now if I do post research check using the tool that AEA suggests and I find I dont have 50/50 gender balance should I search for some additional papers from female/male authors and insert them just to hit that number? What if on a particular topic most authors are men or women. For example, if it turns out that in some sub-field of economics there are more female economists working on some highly specified topics and my citation list is 75% composed of women should I insert there some random man citations from related fields? What if it is the other way around? I think this is very bad idea that will just make the references list less useful and citations as metric for quality completely useless. There are much better ways of promoting diversity without hampering research like this