The “Me Too” movement in economics info

"Me too" is the name of a movement that started virally as a hashtag on social networks in October 2017, to denounce the proliferation of sexual harassment

In recent days, the Twitter accounts of many academic economists are more active than ever. The reason: A “Me too” movement has been started in academic economics at the highest level of the profession, and is sparking debate and conversation on social media, in meeting spaces, and in the hallways of many economics departments.

“Me too” is the name of a movement that started virally as a hashtag on social networks in October 2017, to denounce the proliferation of sexual harassment and even sexual assault in multiple areas, as a result of the accusations against the film producer and American executive Harvey Weinstein. The phrase, long used in this sense by social activist Tarana Burke, was popularized by actress Alyssa Milano, who encouraged women to tweet their experiences to demonstrate the widespread nature of these misogynistic behaviors. Since then the hashtag has been used by more than 500,000 people, including many celebrities.

Me too debate

The “Me too” debate has recently been opened in the field of academic economics #EconMeToo, because there have been very serious accusations of sexual harassment against very important academic economists. The response of the community of academic economists to these accusations seems to have been the usual one in these cases: many men have reacted with stupor and surprise, while many women have shrugged their shoulders because the conduct of several of the accused was an open secret among many economists.

A key factor in giving visibility to these recent cases has been the initiative of the professor at Texas A&M University, Jennifer Doleac, who is taking care of collecting the cases privately and confidentially. In addition to many economists who, surely at great personal cost, have recounted their own cases, Doleac has already received noteworthy accusations against (at least) 24 economists.

Her role as her mediator is also very important because, thanks to her, victims and witnesses are able to get in touch with the interested media and the organizations for that purpose in the different institutions affected. Its stated goal is to “begin applying pressure from the outside to compel institutions to adopt major reforms” in this area.

At this point, it is worth asking: what are the institutions related to the Economy doing? The “Me too” movement in the Economy is so powerful that, as we said, its repercussions have not been limited to social networks. The most important academic institutions are moving to respond to the requests of all those involved.

Research

The Institute for Research in Labor Economics IZA, which brings together more than 1,800 labor economists from around the world, has announced that it will review its Code of Conduct and has created a committee and an ad hoc figure to protect victims of sexual harassment. The Economic Science Association, an influential association of behavioral economists, has been reminding its members of its established procedure for reporting cases of sexual harassment.

From Nothing is Free we want to echo the #EconMeToo movement because we believe that it is our responsibility to report on issues of general interest that arise in our profession. We also feel that it is our obligation to show solidarity with those who have been victims of sexual harassment and have not been able to defend themselves. As they find themselves in a situation of inferiority with respect to the harasser, either hierarchically or for fear of labor reprisals.

Conclusion

Finally, we want to contribute to creating a culture that eradicates this type of behavior and that fosters respect for all people.

The truth is that in both society and professional fields, we play a lot in it. Sexual harassment has proven negative effects on the accumulation of human capital of those who suffer from it (see for example here).

Both from the perspective of equity and efficiency, and above all from our social and civic values, we cannot allow women, people of color, or any other person who suffers harassment and abuse, not to develop their scientific potential…

That is why the team of editors of this blog, together with the president of the Nada es Gratis association, wish to express with this entry our strongest condemnation of any type of sexual harassment behavior, and our solidarity with the victims of sexual harassment. this type of act, unfortunately, is much more frequent than it is visible.

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