AEA climate survey final report announcement:
  • Direct link to survey

  • AEA draft of Best Practices for Diversifying Economic Quality:

  • Economist article about women in economics:

  • New York Times article by Justin Wolfers about the lack of women in economics:

  • New York Times article by Lisa Cook and Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman on the underrepresentation of black women in economics:

  • Open letter on harassment and discrimination in economics:

  • Shelly Lundberg and Jenna Stearns. 2019. Journal of Economic Perspectives.
  • Women in Economics: Stalled Progress

  • Abstract: Women are still a minority in the economics profession. By the mid-2000s, just under 35 percent of PhD students and 30 percent of assistant professors were female, and these numbers have remained roughly constant ever since. Over the past two decades, women's progress in academic economics has slowed, with virtually no improvement in the female share of junior faculty or graduate students in decades. Little consensus has emerged as to why, though there has been a renewal of widespread interest in the status and future of women in economics and of the barriers they face to professional success. In this paper, we first document trends in the gender composition of academic economists over the past 25 years, the extent to which these trends encompass the most elite departments, and how women's representation across fields of study within economics has changed. We then review the recent literature on other dimensions of women's relative position in the discipline, including research productivity and income, and assess evidence on the barriers that female economists face in publishing, promotion, and tenure. While differences in preferences and constraints may directly affect the relative productivity of men and women, productivity gaps do not fully explain the gender disparity in promotion rates in economics. Furthermore, the progress of women has stalled relative to that in other disciplines in the past two decades. We propose that differential assessment of men and women is one important factor in explaining this stalled progress, reflected in gendered institutional policies and apparent implicit bias in promotion and tenure processes.

    Leah Boustan and Andrew Langan. 2019. Journal of Economic Perspectives.
  • Variation in Women's Success Across PhD Programs in Economics

  • Abstract: We document wide and persistent variation in women's representation and success across graduate programs in economics. Using new data on early career outcomes for recent graduates, including first job placement, publications, and promotion, we rank (anonymized) departments on outcomes for women relative to men graduating from the same program. We then conduct interviews with faculty and former students from five programs with better and worse relative outcomes. We find that departments with better outcomes for women also hire more women faculty, facilitate advisor-student contact, provide collegial research seminars, and are notable for senior faculty with awareness of gender issues. We offer our qualitative evidence as the first step in learning about "what works" in expanding women's representation in economics.

    Kasey Buckles. 2019. Journal of Economic Perspectives.
  • Fixing the Leaky Pipeline: Strategies for Making Economics Work for Women at Every Stage

  • Abstract: While women comprise over half of all undergraduate students in the United States, they account for less than one-third of economics majors. From there, the proportion of women at each stage of the academic tenure track continues to decrease, creating a "leaky pipeline." In this paper, I provide a toolkit of interventions that could be implemented by individuals, organizations, or academic units who are working to attract and retain women students and faculty at each stage of this pipeline. I focus on smaller-scale, targeted interventions that have been evaluated in a way that allows for the credible estimation of causal effects.

    Heather Antecol, Kelly Bedard, and Jenna Stearns. 2018. American Economic Review.
  • Equal but Inequitable: Who Benefits from Gender-Neutral Tenure Clock Stopping Policies?

  • Abstract: Many skilled professional occupations are characterized by an early period of intensive skill accumulation and career establishment. Examples include law firm associates, surgical residents, and untenured faculty at research-intensive universities. High female exit rates are sometimes blamed on the inability of new mothers to survive the sustained negative productivity shock associated with childbearing and early childrearing in these environments. Gender-neutral family policies have been adopted in some professions in an attempt to ``level the playing field.'' The gender-neutral tenure clock stopping policies adopted by the majority of research-intensive universities in the United States in recent decades are an excellent example. But to date, there is no empirical evidence showing that these policies help women. Using a unique dataset on the universe of assistant professor hires at top-50 economics departments from 1980–2005, we show that the adoption of gender-neutral tenure clock stopping policies substantially reduced female tenure rates while substantially increasing male tenure rates. However, these policies do not reduce the probability that either men or women eventually earn tenure in the profession.

    Tatiana Avilova and Claudia Goldin. 2018.
  • What Can UWE Do for Economics?

  • Abstract: Men outnumber women as undergraduate economics majors by three to one nationwide. Even at the best research universities and liberal arts colleges men outnumber women by two to one or more. The Undergraduate Women in Economics Challenge was begun in 2015 as an RCT with 20 treatment schools and at least 30 control schools to evaluate whether better course information, mentoring, encouragement, career counseling, and more relevant instructional content could move the needle. Although the RCT is still in the field, results from several within treatment-school randomized trials demonstrate that uncomplicated and inexpensive interventions can substantially increase the interest of women to major in economics.

    Francine D. Blau, Janet M. Currie, Rachel T.A. Croson, and Donna K. Ginther. 2010. American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings.
  • Can Mentoring Help Female Assistant Professors? Interim Results from a Randomized Trial

  • Abstract: Since its inception in 1971, the American Economic Association (AEA) Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession (CSWEP) has tracked the number of women at various ranks in the profession. CSWEP’s statistics indicate a “leaky pipeline” from PhD programs into tenured academic jobs. The significant underrepresentation of women in economics at the tenured level prompted CSWEP to establish the CSWEP Mentoring Program (CeMENT) with the support of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) ADVANCE program and the AEA. The program is aimed at assisting female junior faculty in preparing themselves for the tenure hurdle.

    We are evaluating the success of the program using a randomized trial. Applicants were randomly assigned to be treatments (mentees who attended the workshop) or controls who did not participate. Our study will compare the academic performance (i.e., papers, grants) of these two groups. To our knowledge, this randomized trial of a mentoring program is unique in academia.

    There have now been three cohorts of program participants, in 2004, 2006, and 2008. A fourth cohort begins in January 2010, and another is planned for January 2012. This paper thus presents an interim assessment. We find that CeMENT significantly increased publication rates and successful grant applications. While it is too early to tell what the eventual effect on tenure will be, the results suggest that this program may be a useful way to help women advance in the economics profession.

    David Card, Stefano DellaVigna, Patricia Funk, and Nagore Iriberri. Forthcoming, Quarterly Journal of Economics.
  • Are Referees and Editors in Economics Gender Neutral?

  • Abstract: We study the role of gender in the evaluation of economic research using submissions to four leading journals. We find that referee gender has no effect on the relative assessment of female- versus male-authored papers, suggesting that any differential biases of male referees are negligible. To determine whether referees as a whole impose different standards for female authors, we compare citations for female and male-authored papers, holding constant referee evaluations and other characteristics. We find that female-authored papers receive about 25% more citations than observably similar male-authored papers. Editors largely follow the referees, resulting in a 1.7 percentage point lower probability of a revise and resubmit verdict for papers with female authors relative to a citation-maximizing benchmark. In their desk rejection decisions, editors treat female authors more favorably, though they still impose a higher bar than would be implied by citation-maximization. We find no differences in the informativeness of female versus male referees, or in the weight that editors place on the recommendations of female versus male referees. We also find no differences in editorial delays for female versus male-authored papers.

    Anusha Chari and Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham. 2018.
  • Gender Representation in Economics Across Topics and Time: Evidence from the NBER Summer Institute

  • Abstract: We document the representation of female economists on the conference programs at the NBER Summer Institute from 2001-2018. Over the period from 2016-2018, women made up slightly over 21 percent of all authors on scheduled papers. However, there was large dispersion in the female author share across programs. While the average share of women has slightly risen from 18 percent since 2001-2003, a persistent gap between finance, macroeconomics and microeconomics subfields remains. We examine several channels potentially affecting female representation including gender differences in acceptance and submissions rates, institutional rank, NBER affiliation, faculty seniority and the role of organizers.

    Jennifer Doleac, Elizabeth Pancotti, Nate Apathy, and Kelsey Skvoretz. 2019.
  • Econ Seminar Diversity

  • About the Project: One of the primary ways that academic economists build networks, share their work, and get feedback on their work is through invited talks in other departments’ seminar series. This means that the choice of whom to invite to give talks can play an important “gatekeeper” role in shaping individuals’ careers, and may contribute to or help reduce existing disparities in the profession. This website provides information about who gives invited talks, in aggregate, by department, and for each seminar series within a department. The goal is to make such information about this aspect of departments’ activities more accessible. Our team collected information on which individuals spoke in department seminar series, and coded their gender and under-represented minority (URM) status (a person is a URM if they are Black, Hispanic, or Native American, and were born in the United States). So far, our team has collected data on 5,956 seminars at 22 schools, which equates to 3,089 unique speakers. We exclude seminar talks given by speakers at their own institutions. For context, 23.7% of tenure track faculty in economics departments are women; 8.2% of full-time faculty (tenured, tenure-track, and non-tenure track) are URMs. Focusing on the newest additions to the profession, 32.9% of new economics Ph.D.s were awarded to women, and 7.3% were awarded to URM students. See the CSWEP Annual Report for more information on women in the profession; see the CSMGEP Annual Report for more information on URM economists.

    Donna K. Ginther and Shulamit Kahn. 2004. Journal of Economic Perspectives.
  • Women in Economics: Moving Up or Falling Off the Academic Career Ladder?

  • Abstract: The percentage of economics doctorates awarded to women increased from 8.7 percent in 1974 to 26.9 percent in 2000, according to data from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Survey of Earned Doctorates. This article considers whether the corresponding increases of women economists that one might expect as women move up the academic career ladder have occurred. A number of studies based on data through the 1980s find that women economists are less likely to be promoted to tenure than men (Kahn, 1993; Broder, 1993; McDowell, Singell and Ziliak, 1999, 2001) and that these differences are not fully explained by observable characteristics. Other recent studies on Sweden and the United Kingdom find that women are underrepresented in tenured academic ranks in economics there (Persson, 2002; Booth, Frank and Blackaby, 2002). However, relatively little is known about women economists’ academic employment outcomes in the United States during the most recent decade. Our study draws upon several empirical approaches and multiple data sets for the 1990s. We find that when compared with other academic disciplines, women in economics are less likely to get tenure and take longer to achieve it. Although gender differences in productivity and the effect of children on promotion partly explain women’s lesser chances of receiving tenure in economics, a significant portion of the gender promotion gap remains unexplained by observable characteristics.

    Erin Hengel. 2019.
  • Publishing while Female

  • Abstract: Conditional on the quality of a paper, are women held to higher writing standards in academic peer review? Using readability scores to investigate, I find: (i) female-authored papers are 1–6 percent better written than equivalent papers by men; (ii) the gap widens during peer review; (iii) women improve their writing as they publish more papers (but men do not). Using a subjective expected utility framework, I show that tougher editorial standards are most obviously consistent with authors’ observed choices. A conservative estimate derived from the model suggests higher writing standards could cause senior female economists to write at least 7 percent more clearly than they otherwise would. To rule out a remaining alternative that a female comparative advantage in writing well compensates for some other quality present in male-authored papers, I document evidence that the cost to women of publishing a paper is much higher than it is for men: female authors spend 3–6 months longer under review. As a final exercise, I show women gradually anticipate higher writing standards in peer review by writing more readably before it, suggesting they probably respond to biased treatment in ways that inadvertently disguise it as voluntary choice.

    Erin Hengel and Eunyoung Moon. 2019.
  • Gender and Quality at Top Economics Journals

  • Abstract: We show articles published in “top-five” economics journals authored by men are lower quality—as measured by citations—than articles those same journals publish by women. Additionally, the quality of a man’s paper rises when he co-authors with the opposite sex whereas the quality of a woman’s paper falls. Under strong—but reasonable—assumptions, our findings imply top economics journals hold female-authored papers to higher standards and, as a result, fail to publish the best research. They also suggest that authors of both sexes may forgo co-authoring opportunities with women in order to pursue less productive collaborations with men.

    Laura Hospido and Carlos Sanz. 2019.
  • Gender Gaps in the Evaluation of Research: Evidence from Submissions to Economics Conferences

  • Abstract: We study gender differences in the evaluation of submissions to economics conferences. Using data from the Annual Congress of the European Economic Association (2015-2017), the Annual Meeting of the Spanish Economic Association (2012-2017), and the Spring Meeting of Young Economists (2017), we find that all-female-authored papers are 3.2 p.p. (6.8\%) less likely to be accepted than all-male-authored papers. This gap is present after controlling for (i) number of authors, (ii) referee fixed effects, (iii) field, (iv) cites of the paper at submission year, (v) previous publication record of the authors, and (vi) the quality of the affiliations of the authors. We also find that the gap is entirely driven by male referees - female referees evaluate male and female-authored papers similarly, but male referees are more favorable towards papers written by men.

    Friederike Mengel, Jan Sauermann, and Ulf Zölitz. 2019. Journal of the European Economic Association.
  • Gender Bias in Teaching Evaluations

  • Abstract: This paper provides new evidence on gender bias in teaching evaluations. We exploit a quasi-experimental dataset of 19,952 student evaluations of university faculty in a context where students are randomly allocated to female or male instructors. Despite the fact that neither students' grades nor self-study hours are affected by the instructor’s gender, we find that women receive systematically lower teaching evaluations than their male colleagues. This bias is driven by male students' evaluations, is larger for mathematical courses, and particularly pronounced for junior women. The gender bias in teaching evaluations we document may have direct as well as indirect effects on the career progression of women by affecting junior women’s confidence and through the reallocation of instructor resources away from research and toward teaching.

    David Neumark and Rosella Gardecki. 1998. Journal of Human Resources.
  • Women Helping Women? Role Model and Mentoring Effects on Female Ph.D. Students in Economics

  • Abstract: One potential method to increase the success of female graduate students in economics is to encourage mentoring efforts between these students and female faculty members, via increased hiring of female faculty, or having female faculty serve as dissertation chairs for female students. This paper examines whether either of these strategies results in more successful outcomes for female graduate students, using survey information on female graduate students and faculties of Ph.D.-producing economics departments. The empirical evidence provides virtually no support for the hypothesis that initial job placements for female graduate students are improved by adding female faculty members, or by having a female dissertation chair. However, female faculty members appear to reduce time spent in graduate school by female students.

    Catherine Porter and Danila Serra. Forthcoming, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.
  • Gender Differences in the Choice of Major: The Importance of Female Role Models

  • Abstract: We conducted a field experiment aimed at increasing the percentage of women majoring in economics. We exposed students enrolled in introductory classes to successful and charismatic women who majored in economics at the same university. The intervention significantly impacted female students’ enrollment in further economics classes, increasing their likelihood to major in economics by 8 percentage points. This is a large effect, given that only 9 percent of women were majoring in economics at baseline. Since the impacted women were previously planning to major in lower-earning fields, our low-cost intervention may have a positive effect on their future incomes.

    Heather Sarsons. 2019.
  • Gender Differences in Recognition for Group Work

  • Abstract: Does gender influence how credit for group work is allocated? Using data from academic economists’ CVs, I test whether coauthored and solo-authored publications matter differently for tenure for men and women. Because coauthors are listed alphabetically in economics, coauthored papers do not provide specific information about each contributor’s skills or ability. Solo-authored papers, on the other hand, provide a relatively clear signal of ability. I find that conditional on publication quality and other observables, men are tenured at roughly the same rate regardless of whether they coauthor or solo-author. Women, however, become less likely to receive tenure the more they coauthor. The result is most pronounced for women coauthoring with men and less pronounced among women who coauthor with other women. An online experiment finds similar patterns when women perform male-stereotyped tasks. However, women receive equal credit for joint work with men when the task is perceived to be gender-neutral. Taken together, the results suggest that gender and stereotypes influence the allocation of credit for group work.

    Alice Wu. Forthcoming, Review of Economics and Statistics
  • Gender Bias in Rumors among Professionals: An Identity-based Interpretation

  • Abstract: This paper measures gender bias in what people say about women versus men in an anonymous online professional forum. I study the content of posts that refer to each gender, and the transitions in the topics of discussion that occur between consecutive posts in a thread once attention turns to one gender or the other. I find that discussions about women tend to highlight their personal characteristics (such as physical appearance or family circumstances) rather than their professional accomplishments. Posts about women are also more likely to lead to deviations from professional topics than posts about men. I interpret these findings through a model that highlights posters’ incentives to boost their own identities relative to the underrepresented out-group in a profession.

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