Department of Economics

Equality and inclusion

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Equality and inclusion in economics at Essex

The Department of Economics is committed to the inclusion, progression, and success of all groups in its research, education and leadership activities.

We aim to foster equality of opportunity and a positive culture for all, where our differences are respected and valued.   We encourage anyone interested in the creative and productive atmosphere we foster to join us. We will support you in your career progression, whether you are a student, an academic or professional services member of staff.

Athena SWAN 

The Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research. Since 2015 the charter has expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law, and in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students. The charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender and black and minority ethnic equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

The Department of Economics received the Athena Swan Bronze Award in 2021. The University of Essex was awarded the Institutional Bronze Award  in November, 2017, in recognition of its continuing work to support women in STEMM.  The University also joined the WISE Campaign in November, 2016.

Kate Rockett
"We are engaging with the Athena SWAN process so that we can incorporate equality and diversity more completely into the departmental agenda, with concrete outcomes that should contribute to the culture, performance, and well-being of all departmental members.”
Professor Kate Rockett Athena Swan Self-Assessment Team Chair

Supporting inclusion within the Department

We have 27 women in our economics staff community who are at different stages of their careers and in roles including Professor, Lecturer, Graduate Teaching Assistant and Professional Services Officer.  Our staff and students increasingly represent black and minority ethnic groups from a diverse range of communities.

Inclusion in our department

Professor Jayant Ganguli - Professor in economics

Professor Ganguli joined Essex in 2012, having obtained his PhD at Cornell University (USA) and then having taught at the University of Cambridge and the University of Nottingham. His research and teaching interests are in economic theory, financial economics, and behavioural economics. He has been awarded research funding from the Institute for New Economic Thinking (USA), the Economic and Social Research Council (UK), and the Bank of England.
He currently serves as the Economics Pathway Lead for Essex in the SeNSS DTP.  He also serves as an Associate Editor at the Economic Journal of the Royal Economic Society (UK). 

Dr Zeina Alsharkas - Lecturer in economics

Zeina Alsharkas completed her PhD with a specialism in the empirical analysis of competition, in particular, in innovative markets.

She completed her Master's degree at Essex in the same subject area and taught extensively as part of her programme at Essex, earning an excellence in teaching award in 2017.

Dr Lingqing Jiang - Lecturer in economics

Dr Jiang joined Essex in 2017, after completing her PhD at the University of Lausanne. Her work is in behavioural and experimental economics. Her work includes empirical studies of peer effects, including among male and female elite athletes.  She recently made a presentation at a conference in London on Women in Social Science, to see the full presentation please view the (.pdf).

She teaches applied economics and the economics of organisation.

Professor Friederike Mengel - Professor in economics

Professor Friederike Mengel joined Essex in 2012. She studies behaviour in social networks, and the emergence of social norms, among other areas. Her work on gender bias recently received coverage in The Economist.

She leads the Behavioural Economics programme at Essex and serves as Research Director for the Department. She serves in editorial capacity on four leading journals and has been named to the Council of the Royal Economic Society.

Claire Cox and Carol Macaskill – Department Managers

Claire and Carol operate an innovative job-share model which allows them to successfully fulfil their senior administrative role in the department whilst achieving a work-life balance to meet their other commitments. Outside of the Economics job-share, Claire is mother to a young son and Carol works for a local charity.

Making an impact in economics

Research and teaching in aspects of gender, minority groups and economics is an important element of what we do in the department. Read on to view key pieces of research from the department which examine gender and economics.

Recent research from the department

Marco Francesconi and Matthias Parey (2018) “Early Gender Gaps Among University Graduates", published in the European Economic Review, vol. 109 pp. 63 - 82.

Data from six cohorts of university graduates in Germany was used to assess the extent of gender gaps in college and labour market performance twelve to eighteen months after graduation.

Read the full paper in the University of Essex research repository.

Evelina Gavrilova and Nadia Campaniello (2018), “Uncovering the Gender Participation Gap in the Crime Market", published in the European Economic Review, vol. 109, pp. 289 - 304.

This research documents a gender gap in criminal activities, based on property crimes, using data from the U.S. National Incident Based Reporting System from 1995 to 2015. In this study, a gender participation gap is evidenced, with only 30 percent of the crimes being committed by females.

Read the full paper in the University of Essex research repository.

Friederike Mengel, Jan Sauermann and Ulf Zölitz (2019) “Gender Bias in Teaching Evaluation,” published in Journal of the European Economic Association, Vol. 17, pp. 535–566.

This paper provides new evidence on gender bias in teaching evaluations. We exploit a quasi-experimental dataset of 19,952 student evaluations of university faculty in a context where students are randomly allocated to female or male instructors. Despite the fact that neither students’ grades nor self-study hours are affected by the instructor’s gender, we find that women receive systematically lower teaching evaluations than their male colleagues.

Read the full paper in the University of Essex research repository.

Sule Alan, Seda Ertac, Elif Kubilay and Loranth, Gyongyi (2020) “Understanding Gender Differences in Leadership,” Economic Journal (forthcoming).

Using data from a large-scale field experiment, this research shows that while there is no gender difference in the willingness to make risky decisions on behalf of a group in a sample of children, a large gap emerges in a sample of adolescents. The proportion of girls who exhibit leadership willingness drops by 39% going from childhood to adolescence. We explore the possible factors behind this drop and find that it is largely associated with a dramatic decline in “social confidence”, measured by the willingness to perform a real effort task in public.

Read the full paper in the University of Essex research repository.

Victoria Baranov, Sonia Bhalotra, Pietro Biroli and Joanna Maselko (2019) “Maternal Depression, Women's Empowerment, and Parental Investment: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial,” American Economic Review (forthcoming). 

We evaluate the medium-term impacts of treating maternal depression on women's mental health, financial empowerment, and parenting decisions. We leverage variation induced by a cluster-randomized control trial that provided psychotherapy to 903 pre-natally depressed mothers in rural Pakistan. It was one of the world's largest psychotherapy interventions, and it dramatically reduced postpartum depression. Seven years after psychotherapy concluded, we returned to the study site to find that impacts on women's mental health had persisted, with a 17% reduction in depression rates. The intervention also improved women's financial empowerment and increased both time- and money-intensive parental investments by between 0.2 and 0.3 standard deviations.

Read the full paper in the University of Essex research repository.