Basic Demographics of the American Finance Association

11 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2023

See all articles by Ivo Welch

Ivo Welch

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: October 8, 2023


• Membership drops off relatively sharply from about 240 in PhD Year 2010 to about 160 in PhD Year 2009 — roughly the year where candidates would have come up for tenure. It drops further with age, crossing 100/year in about PhD Year 1992 and 50/year for PhD Years around the mid-1970s.

• About 22% of the AFA is female, 78% is male. Female members have increased dramatically in numbers, from 4% (1-in-20) for “emeriti” PhD years, to 16% (1-in-6) for “full” PhD years, to 27% (1-in-4) for “associate” PhD years, to 30% (1-in-3) for “assistant” PhD years. This is the strongest trend in the data.

• Members with European-background names have decreased from 75% for “emeriti” PhD years, to 61% for “full” PhD years, to 50% for “associate” PhD years, to 42% for assistants.

• Members with East-Asian-background names have increased from 9% for“ emeriti” PhD years, to 23% for “full” PhD years, to 31% for “associate” PhD years, to 43% for “assistant” PhD years.

• East-Asian-background names outnumbered European-background names beginning around the 2016-7 PhD years among females; and around the 2019 PhD years among males.

• Members with South-Asian-background names have increased from 5% for“emeriti” PhD years, to 11% for “full” PhD years, declining again to 8% for “associate” PhD years, to 7% for “assistant” PhD years.

• Members with Hispanic-background names have remained steady at 4-6% for all three non-“emeriti” PhD year categories.

• Members with African-American-background names have remained steady at 2-3% for all PhD year categories.

* The demographics raise some uncomfortable fundamental questions.

Keywords: demographics

JEL Classification: Y9

Suggested Citation

Welch, Ivo, Basic Demographics of the American Finance Association (October 8, 2023). Available at SSRN: or

Ivo Welch (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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