AEA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Diversity and Inclusion

The American Economic Association has established an annual AEA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Diversity and Inclusion to recognize departments and organizations that demonstrate outstanding achievement in diversity and inclusion practices.

All US-based departments of economics and other organizations employing significant numbers of economists are encouraged to submit their applications documenting their successes in fostering diversity and inclusion. The selection committee wishes to see evidence of excellence in processes and structures and in outcomes. It will thus focus on those applicants that have taken productive steps to establish new programs and procedures, to create an inclusive environment, and to increase the participation of underrepresented racial/ethnic minorities, women, and LGBTQ+ individuals in their economics communities (including students, department members and leaders, and invited speakers and honorees). All departments of economics, in any college or university in the United States, are eligible, as are other economics organizations and workplaces, such as think tanks and divisions of government agencies.

Award winners, up to four per year, will be celebrated prominently and listed on the AEA Honors and Awards, JOE Network for Job-Seekers, and Resources for Students webpages. Award winners will also be given early access to the reservation system for ASSA hotel space for ten years following award receipt.


  • Productive processes and structures, a positive and inclusive culture, and participation and empowerment of individuals from underrepresented or marginalized backgrounds and identities.
  • Programs and policies that embody the AEA's Best Practices for Economists Building a More Diverse, Inclusive, and Productive Profession.
  • Publicly available evidence of steps the department or organization has taken to promote diversity and inclusion, informing and educating members of the community and other economics  organizations.

Application Process and Deadline

Applications (one per department) should be submitted to by 11 pm ET on November 30 with the subject line: "AEA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Diversity and Inclusion." Applications consist of statements of up to 2,000 words demonstrating fulfillment of the award criteria and including a declaration of the department’s diversity and inclusion goals, a self-assessment of successes and weaknesses, and a plan for further improvement and innovation. Previous award winners are eligible to win again after five years. The awards will be adjudicated by representatives of CSMGEP, CSWEP, CSQIEP, CEDPC, and the Executive Committee.


The award winner(s) will be notified in late December and announced formally at the AEA Awards Ceremony and Presidential Address at the annual ASSA meetings.

2021 Award Winner

The recipient of the 2021 award is The Department of Economics at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. This award recognizes departments and organizations demonstrating outstanding achievement in diversity and inclusion practices. The steps taken by the Economics Department at Virginia Tech, as outlined in their application that can be read here, include substantial changes in programs and practices that align with the AEA's Best Practices for Economists Building a More Diverse, Inclusive, and Productive Profession and that aim to create a more diverse and inclusive environment for faculty and students. The department's Initiatives for Diversity & Inclusion are wide reaching and involve the principles curriculum, new courses on race, gender, and diversity and inclusion, graduate student training, a new postdoc position, faculty recruiting, and public outreach.

View their application here.

Previous Award Winners

2020 University of Missouri