Economists & Crises – Rethinking Economics Report

Words by Tree Watson, Co-Director, RE Support Team

Were Economists Prepared

for the Pandemic?


2020 has been a year of crises. The spectres of COVID19, an escalating climate  emergency, persistent racial injustice and widening inequality have left societies at a crossroads. Increasingly, it is economists that governments turn to when responding to  these crises, but do their economics courses do enough to prepare them for this vital  role? 

Download the Full Report Here!

In this report we present the results of our investigation into how well economics degrees have prepared students and graduates to understand the Covid-19 crisis, the environmental crisis and the crisis of systemic bias and social exclusion. 


A survey of 920 economics students and graduates suggests they don’t. In fact, the results attest to a consensus amongst students, whereby 78.5% of the economics students and graduates we surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that this crisis should be a turning point in how Economics is taught; this consensus for change held across different levels of study and RE affiliation. 


But how must the discipline change? 

We argue that the economists of the future should receive a training that is critical, pluralist, interdisciplinary and applicable to real world problems. 

This report demonstrates how economics courses are currently falling short of this vision and failing to prepare economics graduates for the effects of a multitude of crises. From this point forward, it is vital that the discipline better applies itself to the “real-world”, is honest about bias and learns from other subjects and schools of thought to better equip its graduates for a world that is so reliant upon its economists.


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