Social media has infiltrated all aspects of life, and academia is no exception. For the last decade, economists on Twitter (or ‘#EconTwitter’) has become an increasingly robust community. Many have hailed it as an overwhelmingly positive, collegial, and collaborative virtual space. And to a certain extent, it is. I personally have connected with many amazing economists, social scientists, and journalists in ways that would not have been otherwise possible. However, the positivity, collegiality, and collaboration quickly evaporate if you dare to criticize the institutional hierarchies of the discipline, in a way that is perhaps also the case with the real network of economists. Last week, the Sveriges Riksbank Prize for Economics Sciences in the Memory of Alfred Nobel, or the “Nobel prize” in economics, was awarded to Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson of Stanford University for their contribution to developments in Auction Theory. Without casting any aspersions on the quality of the theoretical advances produced by Milgrom and Wilson, I argued that perhaps this was not the year in which we needed to celebrate once again advances in abstract microeconomic theory and the continued hyper-mathematization of economics, produced by white men educated in and working from elite universities in the United States who have been manning the discipline's gate for decades. Why? Besides the obvious Coronavirus pandemic that has been raging through the world, and the economic depression that has resulted from the policy response to it, it has also been the year in which many other events have rocked the economics discipline. Earlier in the summer, in the light of the institutional murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless other Black Americans, the Black Lives Matters movement took the economics discipline by storm, prompting bold calls to action and self-reflection. Furthermore, Claudia Sahm, a prominent macroeconomist wrote on her blog about the rampant sexism, gaslighting, and discrimination she and others have faced in the economics profession. We also learnt about the experience of Devaki Jain, who told her story of shocking sexual advances by a prominent economist and the consequent loss of employment as a result. It no longer appeared controversial to claim that structural discrimination characterizes economics. Operating on the assumption that #EconTwitter is in fact a collegial space, where if one voices a dissenting opinion not celebrating this prestigious award, the worst that could happen is that someone vehemently disagrees, I made the argument that the most prestigious award in economics needs to reflect these recent developments. That we need to incentivize and highlight work that directly addresses any of these urgent problems and recognize scholarship produced outside the Global North. However, all hell broke loose. I was subjected to all kinds of awful racist and sexist messages on Twitter, received hate mail, and a death threat. In addition, participants in the anonymous Economics Job Market Rumors (EJMR) forum took it upon themselves to try to make sure I don’t get an academic job because I dared to highlight the persistence of white male privilege in economics.
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