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 31 women in our economics staff community who are at different stages of their careers and in roles including Professor, Senior Lecturer, Lecturer, Assistant Lecturer 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

Jayant 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 Deputy Head of Department of Economics since August 2020, and as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Mathematical Economics since January 2024. He has served in a variety of leadership roles such as Economics PhD programme Director (2016-19), Economics Pathway Lead for Essex in the SeNSS DTP (2017-19), cluster lead for the Microeconomics Research Cluster (2019-2022) and Associate Editor at the Economic Journal of the Royal Economic Society (UK) (2014-2020).

Dr Xiaoyu Xia - Senior Lecturer in economics

Dr Xia is a Senior Lecturer in the department. She studied in Peking University and the University of California, Berkeley, and taught in the Chinese University of Hong Kong before joining Essex in 2020.

Her research interests span the fields of labour economics and applied econometrics. Her current projects include studies of the youth labour market and education policies in China.

Dr Lingqing Jiang - Lecturer in economics

Dr Jiang joined Essex in 2017, after completing her PhD in Economics at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Her research area is behavioural and experimental economics with a focus on health, gender, and sports. She was invited to give a presentation about gender gaps in academic careers at a conference on “Women in Social Science” – to see the full presentation please view the (.pdf). Her current projects include research on peer effects and a study of potential gender bias in task allocation in teams.

Professor Friederike Mengel - Professor in economics

Professor Friederike Mengel joined Essex in 2012. She is also a Visiting Guest Professor at the University of Heidelberg and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (UK). She studies behaviour in social networks, the emergence of social norms, and the formation of preferences and discrimination, among other areas. Her work has received coverage in leading international news outlets including the Economist, the New York Times, Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal and TIME Magazine.

She leads the Behavioural Economics programme at Essex and has served as Research Director for the Department of Economics. She has served in editorial capacity on several leading journals, has been named to the Council of the Royal Economic Society, and has received grants from the Leverhulme Trust, the European Research Council and the British Academy.

Claire Cox and Carol Macaskill – Department Managers

Claire and Carol operate a 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. Claire was Department Manager full-time for 7 years from 2011. Then, following a break for maternity leave, she successfully negotiated for it to become a job share arrangement. Carol was appointed to the newly created job share in 2018. They actively promote this model of working to women in the university and beyond.

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

Cavapozzi, D., Francesconi, M. and Nicoletti, C., (2021). The Impact of Gender Role Norms on Mothers' Labor Supply. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 186, pp. 113-134.

This research examines whether mothers' labour supply is shaped by the gender role attitudes of their peers. Using detailed information on a sample of UK mothers with dependent children, it finds that having peers with gender-egalitarian norms leads mothers to be more likely to have a paid job and to have a greater share of the total number of paid hours worked within their household, but has no sizable effect on hours worked. These findings suggest that an evolution towards gender-egalitarian attitudes promotes gender convergence in labour market outcomes.

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

Etheridge, B. and Spantig, L., (2022). The Gender Gap in Mental Well-Being At the Onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic: Evidence from the UK. European Economic Review, 145, 104114.

This paper assesses the decline in mental health after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK. This decline was more than twice as large for women as for men. Compositional differences in family and caring responsibilities explain part of the gender gap, but more important are gender differences in social factors, particularly changes in loneliness. This result is explored further by analysing gender differences in personality traits.

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

Mengel, F., (2021). Gender Bias in Opinion Aggregation. International Economic Review, 62(3), pp. 1055-1080.

Gender biases have been documented in many areas including hiring, promotion, or performance evaluations. Many of these decisions are made by committees. This research finds experimental evidence that committee deliberation contributes to gender biases. It explores several mechanisms and tests two interventions. Randomizing the order of speaking does not reduce gender bias, but an information intervention where raters are informed of gender bias in prior sessions does.

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

Lippmann, Q., (2023). Persistence of Incumbents and Female Access to Political Positions. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 206, pp. 327-349.

This article studies whether the incumbent advantage for re-election reduces female access to political positions. After a male incumbent, incumbency largely reduces the stock of places where women have historically been appointed mayor by about 24%. After a female incumbent, there are fewer women appointed mayor than after a male one. These results are consistent with a backlash or stereotype threat effect penalizing women after a female incumbent.

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