Listen to Dr. Lisa D. Cook, Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman, and Jhumpa Bhattacharya discuss the extreme underrepresentation of Black women in economics and why that matters for the field – and for public policy. 



“If you don’t see yourself in the text, and you don’t see yourself in the classroom, where do you see yourself?”

Among all recipients of doctoral degrees in economics, only 0.6% in the U.S. are Black women. Why? To explore this issue, Jhumpa Bhattacharya welcomed to the podcast Dr. Lisa D. Cook and Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman, co-authors of a New York Times op-ed spotlighting the severe underrepresentation of Black women in the field of economics. 

Dr. Lisa D. Cook is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Economics and International Relations at Michigan State University. A former faculty member at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Dr. Cook served as a Senior Advisor at the U.S. Treasury Department and as a Senior Economist on the Obama Administration’s Council of Economic Advisors. She has also held positions or conducted postdoctoral research at the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Federal Reserve Banks of New York and Philadelphia, the World Bank, and the Brookings Institution, among others.

Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman is a research scholar in economics at Harvard University, as well as a visiting research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a predoctoral trainee of the Inaugural NYU/Schmidt Futures Program. She completed her B.A. in Mathematics, with a minor in Economics, at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, as a Meyerhoff/MARC*U*STAR Scholar. Anna is also co-founder and CEO of ​the Sadie Collective, an organization that seeks to advance the representation of Black women in quantitative fields such as economics, data science, and public policy. 

Drawing on hard data and their own experiences, Dr. Cook and Ms. Opoku-Agyeman detail the intersecting barriers young Black women face in the field, from exclusionary practices going back to early education to racial and gender bias, stereotypes, and discrimination at the highest levels. Together, they explore the far-reaching consequences of the extreme lack of diversity in economics while discussing the impact of their op-ed in the field and sharing strategies for empowering Black women as scholars and leaders in economics. 

To listen to the full discussion, use the audio player above or subscribe to the Hidden Truths podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or Android. And if you like what you hear, leave a review for Hidden Truths on your favorite podcast platform.

Read the transcript here or download as a PDF.


Read the op-ed co-authored by Dr. Lisa D. Cook and Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman for the New York Times, “‘It Was a Mistake for Me to Choose this Field.’

Learn more about Dr. Lisa D. Cook’s work by visiting lisadcook.net and following her on Twitter. To learn more about Anna’s work, visit sadiecollective.org and follow her on Twitter.