philip cohen discusses nyt mentions of economics, sociology, and other social sciences

At the LSE blog (via Contexts),  Philip Cohen has an interesting post about how economics is discussed in the NY Times in comparison to other social science disciplines:

As my co-editor Syed Ali wrote recently about Orlando Patterson’s op-ed in the Chronicle of Higher Education, sociologists are used to hearing about our irrelevance. Elizabeth Popp Berman pointed out on Orgtheory, however, that we can’t explain this pattern just by looking at sociologists. Economics in particular has been the beneficiary of a long campaign that includes academic expansion, political institution-building, and — Syed adds — political centrism or conservatism.

One result of that development is there are a lot more people outside of academia whose job title is “economist” than there are “sociologists.” So Wolfers’ use of “economist” versus “sociologist” catches all those non-academic economists, while the non-academic sociologists may be more likely to have other titles. To choose one example, Pew Research Center analysts are frequently in the news, with titles such as “Senior Researcher” (Gretchen Livingston and Wendy Wang), “Demographer” (Conrad Hackett), and “Research Associate” (Besheer Mohamed) — all of whom have PhDs in sociology.

Don’t get your hopes up, but I reran the trends in the NYT‘s Chronicle tool using “professor of economics [etc.]” and “economics [etc.] professor,” to narrow the comparison of references down to academics. This really boosts the standing of political scientists, sociologist, and historians, relative to economists.

Read the whole thing.

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Written by fabiorojas

December 29, 2015 at 12:01 am

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  1. […] I thought the text might be of some comfort to those of us still stinging from the recent posts by Fabio and others about how the public is just not into sociologists. In it, I make my own, personal case […]


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