Gender in the Economics Profession I
Friday, Jan. 4, 2019 10:15 AM - 12:15 PM
- Chair: Margie McElroy, Duke University
Does Economics Make You Sexist?
Does Simple Information Provision Lead to More Diverse Classrooms? Evidence from a Field Experiment on Undergraduate Economics
AbstractSignificant gender and racial/ethnic gaps have been observed in the economics profession, a reality with roots in the decisions of undergraduates and their professors. Indeed, despite representing almost 60 percent of the U.S. college population, women account for only 30 percent of economics majors. While disparities in knowledge of economics and its value undoubtedly exist before students set foot on college campuses, economists could do more to directly address student misperceptions and knowledge gaps. This paper reports the results of a field experiment in which faculty provided incoming students with information about economics via two emails sent in the summer as students considered courses for their first semester of college. We evaluate whether this outreach has an impact on course taking using a randomized control trial involving 2,710 students across nine U.S. colleges with a strong record of sending students to PhD programs in economics. We randomly assign all incoming women and members of underrepresented minority groups to one of three experimental conditions: a control (no email messaging), a simple “Welcome” treatment (two emails encouraging students to consider enrolling in economics courses), and a “Welcome+Info” treatment (two emails encouraging students to consider enrolling in economics courses plus information showcasing the diversity of research and researchers within economics and providing links to educational materials on the AEA’s website). The Welcome+Info treatment increases the likelihood of completing an economics course in the first semester of college by 3.0 percentage points, which is nearly 20 percent of the baseline rate. Additional exploratory analyses suggest stronger effects on first-generation college students. Our results add to a growing body of evidence suggesting that how economics is presented at the undergraduate level affects who is attracted to the field.
Gender Equality and Positive Action: Evidence from UK Universities
AbstractThis paper examines the impact of the Athena Scientific Women's Academic Network (SWAN) Charter on the wages and employment trajectories of female faculty. The Athena SWAN Charter is a gender equality initiative that formally recognises good practice towards the representation and career progression of women in Science, Technology, Engineer, Mathematics, and Medicine (STEMM) through an accreditation process. Understanding the effects of the Charter on gender equality in STEMM is particularly relevant at a time when the Charter’s scope is being widened to cover gender equality in the disciplines of arts, humanities, and social sciences, including economics. We find that the gender wage gap closes after Athena SWAN accreditation. Female faculty at the non-professorial level are not more likely to being promoted to professor after accreditation, or to move to an Athena SWAN accredited university. Taken together these results suggest that the higher wage growth experienced by female non-professorial faculty after Athena SWAN accreditation is likely to come from pay rises within a particular rank.
- J1 - Demographic Economics
- J7 - Labor Discrimination