Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
  • Print publication year: 2014
  • Online publication date: June 2014

2 - Social Norms in Economics and in the Economics Profession

Summary

My Formative Years

I probably became an economist when I was five years old, walking my beloved maid Nazarene to catch her bus.

Skipping along, I said, “I want to be Alice in Wonderland. It’s a great movie. You’ve got to see it.”

Nazarene replied, “Clair, I can’t go see it.”

Puzzled, I asked, “Why not?”

“’’Cause it’s playing at the whites’ theater. They don’t allow coloreds in.”

Confused, I started noticing many other things that didn’t make sense – Nazarene’s worn-out sandals, her walking to the back of the bus after she got on, her drinking out of a dif erent water fountain at the grocery store.

Nazarene gave me a good start in life with her loving care, her patience, and her wisdom. She also unknowingly taught me how the world set up rules that were grossly unfair, and yet people followed them as if they were fair and reasonable. Nazarene prepared me to question discrimination against women as well as people of color, and taught me through example not to take injury incurred through discrimination personally. Years later these childhood lessons gave me the courage to go into a profession that was not welcoming to women.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO
The Impact of Turnover on Group Unemployment Rates,” Review of Economics and Statistics 59 (November 1978): 415–426
The Time-Poor: A New Look at Poverty,” Journal of Human Resources 21 (Winter 1977): 27–48
Unemployment: Theory and Policy, 1946–1980,” Industrial Relations 22 (Spring 1983): 27–48
The Changing Household: Implications for Devising an Income Support Program,” Public Policy 26 (Winter 1978): 121–151
Unemployment Insurance: A Positive Reappraisal,” Industrial Relations 18 (Winter 1979): 121–151
Training, Productivity, and Underemployment in Institutional Labor Markets,” International Journal of Manpower 2 (1993): 47–58
American Standards of Living, 1918–1988 (Cambridge: Blackwell, 1994)
Work and Pay in the United States and Japan (with Nakata, Y., Reich, M., and Ulman, L.) (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997)
Developing Skills and Pay through Career Ladders: Lessons from Japanese and U.S. Companies” (with Michael Reich), California Management Review (Winter 1997): 124–144
Economic Turbulence: Is a Volatile Economy Good for America? (with Julia Lane and John Haltiwanger) (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006)
The Impact of Technological Change on Work and Wages” (with Ben Campbell), Industrial Relations (Winter 2002)
Chips and Change: How Crisis Reshapes the Semiconductor Industry (with Greg Linden) (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009), ch. 6
Gordon, R. A., “Rigor and Relevance in a Changing Institutional Setting,” American Economic Review 66 (1976): 1–14
Ghilarducci, Teresa, When I’m Sixty-Four: The Plot against Pensions and the Plan to Save Them (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008)