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Chris Hughes

Solving Economics' Diversity Problem

More can be done to ensure that the policymakers who influence our lives take decisions informed by broad experience as well as economic nous.

A role model for many.

A role model for many.

Photographer: Oliver Matthys/AFP via Getty Images

The Bank of England has four big job vacancies this year and there’s hope that several will be filled by women. Even if that happens, central banks still have some way to go to tackle the lack of diversity in policymaking. Without more progress, this risks becoming a crisis of legitimacy.

Policymakers’ actions touch everyone. As a matter of principle, they should be representative of the societies they influence. Personal experience is a factor in decision-making, and homogenous committees may ignore the impact (or lack of it) that policies have on certain groups. They may also be more prone to error. There’s evidence that men and women have different approaches to risk, suggesting a need to balance these biases in policy formulations. As European Central Bank executive board member Isabel Schnabel recently told the Financial Times, the tone and conclusion of meetings is very different when she’s not the only woman.