Another of my holiday reads was Alaa Al Aswany’s The Yacoubian Building (which explains a lot about recent events in Egypt). It’s a terrific novel, but one sentence in particular struck me:
“For some reason, the Faculty of Economics and Political Sciences of Cairo University is associated in people’s minds with affluence and chic.”
The author obviously (and reasonably) finds this mystique hard to understand. Of course, I love the idea that economics can be considered chic – an association that would cause people to howl with laughter in the countries I know well.
So this prompted an obvious question, or rather two: in which countries is economics a fashionable subject, and is this correlated with the proportion of female students? I’m looking for a 0-1 variable in answer to the first (a 1 means yes, fashionable) and a percentage of female undergraduates for the second. I can track down UK and probably US data. If readers can help with others, I’ll report the results in due course.