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Gender Representation in Economics Across Topics and Time: Evidence from the NBER Summer Institute

We document the representation of female economists on the conference programs at the NBER Summer Institute from 2001-2016. Over the period from 2013-2016, women made up 20.6 percent of all authors on scheduled papers. However, there was large dispersion across programs, with the share of female authors ranging from 7.3 percent to 47.7 percent. While the average share of women rose slightly from 18.5% since 2001-2004, a persistent gap between finance, macroeconomics and microeconomics subfields remains, with women consisting of 14.4 percent of authors in finance, 16.3 percent of authors in macroeconomics, and 25.9 percent of authors in microeconomics. We examine three channels potentially affecting female representation. First, using anonymized data on submissions, we show that the rate of paper acceptance for women is statistically indistinguish- able to that of men. Second, we find that the share of female authors is comparable to the share of women amongst all tenure-track professors, but is ten percentage points lower than the share of women among assistant professors. Finally, within conference program, we find that when a woman organizes the program, the share of female authors and discussants is higher.

Authors: 
Anusha Chari, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham, Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Publication Date: 
October, 2017
Publication Status: 
Document Number: 
2017-081
File Description: 
First version, October 16, 2017