From Diversifying Economic Quality: A Wiki for Instructors and Departments
Introductory economic textbooks often either contain misrepresentations of underrepresented groups or do not even bother to mention underrepresented groups at all. The textbook is an integral component to the economics classroom and is a key resource in providing students further insight into the field. Biases that are present in economic textbooks not only create an uncomfortable classroom environment for underrepresented students but may discourage underrepresented students from pursuing further studies in economics.
Common issues found in introductory economics textbooks include biases associated with the definition of economic problems, biases associated with the review of previous research, and biases that marginalize the experiences of women and minorities.
For instance, unlike other social sciences like sociology, political science, or psychology, extensive documentation of sources are typically not provided in economics textbooks. Therefore often times it is ambiguous as to whether a study sample has flawed methodology which as a result has depicted underrepresented groups negatively.
References may also contribute to biases found in economics textbooks. This is due to the fact that often times textbooks have very little variety in the sources used to present topics (e.g. poverty). "Despite the commitment of teachers and textbooks to “teaching students to think like economists,” it is remarkable that our textbooks offer so little choice on these important issues" (Feiner 150). Presenting multiple perspectives on an issue is important when trying to teach an unbiased view of a concept, particularly one as controversial as poverty or welfare.