Although economists are finally addressing their profession’s gender and racial imbalances, another key source of knowledge and insight remains absent from the discussion. Until there is a greater representation of voices from outside North America and Western Europe, economics will not be a truly global discipline.
CAMBRIDGE – Early in his career, the economist Joseph E. Stiglitz had an extended stay in Kenya, where he was struck by various oddities in how the local economy operated. Sharecropping was one such anomaly. If farmers were required to surrender half of their harvest to landlords, Stiglitz wondered, wouldn’t that greatly tax incentives and thus reduce efficiency? Why did such a system persist?