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Women in Economics: Stalled Progress

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 underlying gender differences can directly affect the relative productivity of men and women, due to either differential constraints or preferences, 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 editorial review processes.

Authors: 
Shelly Lundberg, University of California Santa Barbara
Jenna Stearns, University of California, Santa Barbara
Publication Date: 
December, 2018
HCEO Working Groups: 
Publication Status: 
Document Number: 
2018-090
File Description: 
First version, November 12, 2018