I usually try to not parrot what is in other economics blogs (especially since you can now easily find it yourself on the Econ Around The Web page), but this particular post was just too appropriate:
Why Didn’t a Woman Write Freakonomics?
“Alison Flood, writing on The Guardian’s Books Blog, asks why Freakonomics and most other books that make “serious non-fiction subjects accessible and popular” weren’t written by women. She theorizes that either women are better at storytelling (think Factory Girls and The Big Necessity) than “sell[ing] our hypothesis about the world” — or it’s just a “numbers game,” as male economists far outnumber female economists. Theories? Protests? Outraged recollections of Larry Summers? (FWIW: even though Freakonomics was written by two men, it did take a woman to name it.)”
(see the actual post for the hyperlinks and such)
I clearly found this somewhat amusing…and give me some time, okay? It’s not like I’m not working on it…though I do have a bit of a bone to pick with Steve Levitt and Stephen Dubner over their choice of subject matter, since you’d be shocked at how many people now think that economists’ main purpose is now to study cheating sumo wrestlers and baby names. (For those of you not familiar with Freakonomics, you can see a description here…also, I am not quite sure what rock you have been living under, no offense.) I find it more amusing still that when I tried to comment on the post about how there actually are women (read, myself) that are working on counterexamples to this point, the comment was rejected in moderation. Nice.
I am guessing that people in general don’t realize how overwhelmingly male the economics world is- even my graduate school class was only about 20 percent female, and the numbers only get lower as you go up the ranks of academia. It’s unclear why this is, but once you consider that fact, along with the fact that there is really only one Freakonomics, at least in terms of its popularity, it’s not at all shocking that it was written by a couple of dudes.
To be clear, there are women out there writing about Freakonomics-esque subject matter, and some of them even did so before Freakonomics even existed. I point you to Diane Coyle‘s Sex, Drugs and Economics: An Unconventional Intro to Economics– I came upon this when doing some research for a tutorial I was teaching (titled “Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n Roll”, in fact), and it’s quite interesting. However, given it’s Amazon.com sales rank (#294026 in Books), I would say it could use a little help with its marketing.
P.S. Anyone know a good literary agent? xoxo, Econgirl