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How Sexism Makes Economics Worse

Betsey Stevenson, a professor at the University of Michigan and a former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, told me that when she hit her mid-40s, she had an “aha moment.”

“I was thinking, It’s so great having gotten to this stage of my career where I’m a little more established. It’s very freeing,” she told me. “And I realized: Oh, I think I just aged out of sexual harassment.” The leering, the inappropriate commentary, the talking over her—much of it had stopped, perhaps because she had become so accomplished, perhaps because she had reached an age where men in her profession did not automatically treat her as a sex object. “There was nothing like having babies to change the male gaze,” she added.

Stevenson is one of many economists reflecting on the way they have been treated and the profession as a whole. Indeed, five years after econ’s first #MeToo moment, the field is in the midst of a new…

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