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“No longer is it widely regarded that issues of representation – diversity and inclusion – are the responsibility of women or of minorities to correct and address, but that the ownership of those problems falls on the shoulders of every person who participates in the economics enterprise,” Wilcox said.Now, as he enters the final stage of his career at the Federal Reserve Board, Wilcox is grateful for the rare opportunity he’s had to leave a lasting, positive impact on a powerful federal organization.In addition to a lack of female representation, African Americans and Hispanics are also widely underrepresented in the field.
“Diversity means making sure that we are hiring as broadly representative a set of individuals as we possibly can, bringing that set of individuals in the door to welcome them as employees of the Federal Reserve,” Wilcox said.
“Inclusion has to do with what they experience once they’re on our staff, making sure that we’re presenting them with a professional environment in which they feel challenged.” Historically, men have obtained 70 percent of all economics degrees at both the undergraduate and doctoral program levels, Wilcox noted.
Decades later, Fischer served as vice chairman of the Federal Reserve under the Obama and Trump administrations before stepping down in October 2017.
“He’s a figure that was incredibly important later on to me, but as a student who was practically brand new to economics, I had no idea what an important role Stan was going to play in my life,” Wilcox said.
While he admitted that the results have been mixed, some signs of progress are beginning to appear.
This past spring, for instance, women made up 40 percent of economics graduates from Williams College, which Wilcox called “a step in the right direction.” “In order to create a staff here at the Federal Reserve that has all the characteristics that we aspire to, we’ve recognized that we need to move aggressively on changing things inside,” Wilcox said.
In that position, he oversees 350 employees focused on economic analysis and forecasting.
While he took over at a time of instability, Wilcox said his early work as director centered on stabilizing the work environment at the Federal Reserve Board in the aftermath of the financial crisis. She returned to the board after graduate school, spending 17 years as a researcher and forecaster before leaving to join the Brookings Institution.
By Duncan Agnew | [email protected] David Wilcox took his seat in an intermediate economics class as a sophomore at Williams College, he never thought the lecture would set him on a path to one of the most powerful federal agencies in the country.
The first thing that struck Wilcox, who years later would help navigate the country through financial crisis at the Federal Reserve, was that Williams undergraduate economics professor Carl van Duyne could hardly contain his excitement as he handed out new textbooks to his students.