Female Economists Push Their Field Toward a #MeToo Reckoning


“The silence from the executive committee has really been deafening,” Jennifer Doleac, a professor at Texas A&M, said at Friday’s business meeting. “A lot of the profession is really waiting to hear from you, and for some semblance of leadership about the direction of the profession and what will be tolerated and what won’t be.”

Olivier Blanchard, the association’s departing president, said for the first time Friday that the executive committee had asked Mr. Fryer to resign. He called that request “the best way out” because the association had no formal procedure to remove an elected officer. The committee, Mr. Blanchard said, is now working to develop such rules.

Some members of the executive committee wanted to go further and establish procedures to punish or expel members for violations of the code of conduct. There are currently no such penalties.

Other members seemed more skeptical of that idea when it was raised in a closed-door session last Thursday, according to several people who were there. Mr. Blanchard cut off discussion, saying he was hungry and it was time for lunch, these people said. The committee will take up the issue again in April.

Mr. Blanchard, a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, did not dispute that account. “The job of the person in charge of the meeting is to make sure that all issues on the agenda are taken up and discussed,” he wrote in an email on Wednesday, adding a parenthetical: “and yes, that people, including me, have time to eat.”

He also said that he was “happy” that the profession was taking women’s concerns seriously, and that “I think the A.E.A. is playing a strong role” on the issue.

Lisa D. Cook, a Michigan State University economist who is one of the most prominent black women in the field, credited younger women with forcing the A.E.A. to move more quickly.



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