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Saturday, September 07, 2013

Where are the Women (in Economics)?

"It’s something systemic to the field"

Where are the Women?, by Jesse Romero, FRB Richmond: Women earned 34 percent of economics Ph.D.s in 2011... That might sound like a lot, but it’s much lower than the 46 percent of all doctorate degrees earned by women, and the smallest share among any of the social sciences. ...
The gender gap in economics gets larger at each stage of the profession, a phenomenon described as the “leaky pipeline.” In 2012, women were 28 percent of assistant professors, the first rung on the academic ladder; 22 percent of associate professors with tenure; and less than 12 percent of full professors...
In part, this might reflect the long lag between earning a Ph.D. and attaining the rank of full professor; if more women are entering the field today than 20 years ago, more women might be full professors in the future. But the share of new female Ph.D. students is actually lower than it was in 1997,... which means women’s share of economics faculty could actually shrink.
Donna Ginther of the University of Kansa s and Shulamit Kahn of Boston University also found leaks in the pipeline. In several studies, they have shown that women are less likely than men to progress at every stage of an academic career... Furthermore, women are less likely to be promoted in economics than in other social sciences, and even than in more traditionally male fields such as engineering and the physical sciences.
In part, the disparity between men and women could be due to different choices, such as having children or focusing more on teaching than on research. ...
But even after controlling for education, ability, productivity, and family choices, Ginther and Kahn found that a gap of about 16 percentage points persists in the likelihood of promotion to full professor in economics — a much larger gap than in other disciplines. “It’s something systemic to the field,” says economist Claudia Goldin of Harvard University.
Whatever that something is, ... the problem might be the way economics is taught, Goldin says. “... We’re teaching economics the same way we did when women didn’t matter. But now women do matter. So how do we translate economics into ‘girlish’?” ...
Does it actually matter how many female economists there are? Yes, says Susan Athey of Stanford University. “You just don’t get the best al location of human capital” when one category of people is excluded. “Losing out on a chunk of the population is wasteful.” (In 2007, Athey was the first woman to receive the John Bates Clark medal, given to the American economist under 40 who has made the greatest contribution to the field.) In addition, a survey by Ann Mari May and Mary McGarvey of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Robert Whaples of Wake Forest University found that male and female economists have significantly different opinions on public policy questions such as the minimum wage, labor regulations, and health insurance. As the authors concluded, “Gender diversity in policymaking circles may be an important aspect in broadening the menu of public policy choices.” ...

    Posted by on Saturday, September 7, 2013 at 03:33 AM in Economics, Market Failure | Permalink  Comments (46)

          


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