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Gender and the Economics Profession

Paper Session

Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020 10:15 AM - 12:15 PM (PST)

Marriott Marquis, San Diego Ballroom A
Hosted By: American Economic Association & Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession
  • Chair: Sandra E. Black, Columbia University

Gender and the Dynamics of Economics Seminars

Alicia Modestino
,
Northeastern University
Pascaline Dupas
,
Stanford University
Muriel Niederle
,
Stanford University
Justin Wolfers
,
University of Michigan

Abstract

Economics has a distinctively aggressive seminar culture, and some have speculated that it may have a disparate impact on women. This paper represents the first systematic attempt at quantitatively measuring aspects of seminar culture to explore the extent to which women are treated differently from men. We study the seminar culture in economics across a variety of professional settings including job market talks, department seminars, and videotaped seminar series publicly available on YouTube. Our rich microdata code every interaction, including many attributes of the speaker and their paper, the gender and seniority of those making interjections, and the type and tenor of their question or comment. To date, we have collected data on 176 job market talks and 228 total seminars presented by on 292 speakers (104 females and 188 males), across 26 universities including 20 of the top 30 economics departments. We have also collected a rich set of speaker characteristics including home institution, position (e.g. graduate student, post-doc, junior/senior faculty), field of study, publications, and major grants. Our early results suggest that there are important differences in how male and female economists are treated when presenting their work in economics seminars, yet these impacts differ across job market talks compared to regular seminar series. In addition to documenting the main effects in terms of number of and time spent in questions, we also explore the mediators of these differences by field of study, gender of the asker, and gender composition of the audience. These results help shed light on the implicit bias within the profession that potentially prevents women from succeeding and/or deters women from entering the profession.

Can Mentoring Help Female Assistant Professors in Economics? An Evaluation by Randomized Trial

Donna Ginther
,
University of Kansas
Janet Currie
,
Princeton University
Francine Blau
,
Cornell University
Rachel Croson
,
Michigan State University

Abstract

Women continue to be underrepresented in academic ranks in the economics profession. The Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession (CSWEP) of the American Economics Association (AEA) established the CEMENT mentoring workshop to support women in research careers. With the support of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the AEA, CSWEP established the ongoing CEMENT mentoring program to support junior female economists. The National Workshop (now the Workshop for Faculty in Doctoral Programs) focuses on junior female economists employed at institutions where research accomplishments weigh heavily in the promotion decision. It was originally designed as a randomized controlled trial, held every other year from 2004-2014. Based on an interim evaluation (Blau et al 2010), the AEA funded the workshop every year starting in 2015. Those interim results showed that the CEMENT program increased the number of publications, publications in top journals, and the number of federal grants for treated cohorts (Blau et al 2010).

This study evaluates differences in publications, grants, employment in academia, and tenure status between the treatment and control groups in the CEMENT randomized controlled trial with a complete dataset. Preliminary results indicate that treated women publish more papers, publish more papers in top journals and receive more federal research grants. Subsequent analyses will examine differences in employment in tenure stream academia and promotion to tenure.

Economics Is Not a Man's Field: A History of CSWEP and of the First Gender Reckoning in the Economics Profession

Beatrice Cherrier
,
University of Cergy-Pontoise and CNRS
Cleo Chassonnery-Zaigouche
,
University of Cambridge
John Singleton
,
University of Rochester

Abstract

Our paper is a history of this first gender reckoning in US economics, one beginning in the early 1970s. Based on hitherto closed AEA archives, comprehensive oral interviews with major protagonists, and quantitative data from the first decade of the CSWEP’s Roster, we reconstruct the historical context that led to the establishment of the CSWEP in order to unpack its successes and failures, the enthusiasm it generated, and the resistance it encountered. We show that then (as now), the birth of CSWEP was tied to larger social movements: the feminist and civil rights movements, growing public awareness of issues surrounding discrimination, and the shifting legal context that drew many scientific societies toward such a reckoning. But we also emphasize how economists’ peculiar approach to social phenomena shaped their views of their own gender issues. For economists both study and experience discrimination, which led them to approach gender issues within the profession as an economic phenomenon. The status of women in economics was thus tied to ongoing debates within labor economics. The theories, models, and empirical evidence that labor economists – from Becker and Arrow, Bell and Bergmann, Ashenfelter and Blinder, Ferber and Blau, among many others – developed and produced to understand the role of women in the economy also shaped economists’ understanding of gender issues within their profession. CSWEP pursued actions common to most scientific societies, such as mentorship programs and the development of a roster, but also very specific changes to the profession, such as the establishment of Job Openings for Economists (rationalized in economic terms), and the sponsorship of conferences on women’s labor supply, discrimination, and occupational segregation.

Employment Dynamics for Economists: Empirical Evidence by Gender and Race

Danielle H. Sandler
,
U.S. Census Bureau
Lucia Foster
,
U.S. Census Bureau
Julia Manzella
,
U.S. Census Bureau
Erika McEntarfer
,
U.S. Census Bureau

Abstract

We contribute to the literature on diversity in the economics profession, which has mostly focused on academia, by providing a first look at the employment and earnings of federal government economists by gender and race. Combining micro-level data on federal workers with information on their earnings in federal and private-sector jobs, we examine the share of federal government economists by race and gender; earnings differences by race and gender; and whether earning gaps differ during their federal government tenure.
Discussant(s)
Sandra E. Black
,
Columbia University
Kasey Buckles
,
University of Notre Dame
Marianne Wanamaker
,
University of Tennessee
Bhash Mazumder
,
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
JEL Classifications
  • J7 - Labor Discrimination
  • J1 - Demographic Economics