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Gender Differences in Peer Recognition by Economists


  • Card, David

    (University of California, Berkeley)

  • DellaVigna, Stefano

    (University of California, Berkeley)

  • Funk, Patricia

    (USI Università della Svizzera Italiana)

  • Iriberri, Nagore

    (University of the Basque Country)


We study the selection of Fellows of the Econometric Society, using a new data set of publications and citations for over 40,000 actively publishing economists since the early 1900s. Conditional on achievement, we document a large negative gap in the probability that women were selected as Fellows in the 1933-1979 period. This gap became positive (though not statistically significant) from 1980 to 2010, and in the past decade has become large and highly significant, with over a 100% increase in the probability of selection for female authors relative to males with similar publications and citations. The positive boost affects highly qualified female candidates (in the top 10% of authors) with no effect for the bottom 90%. Using nomination data for the past 30 years, we find a key proximate role for the Society's Nominating Committee in this shift. Since 2012 the Committee has had an explicit mandate to nominate highly qualified women, and its nominees enjoy above-average election success (controlling for achievement). Looking beyond gender, we document similar shifts in the premium for geographic diversity: in the mid-2000s, both the Fellows and the Nominating Committee became significantly more likely to nominate and elect candidates from outside the US. Finally, we examine gender gaps in several other major awards for US economists. We show that the gaps in the probability of selection of new fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences closely parallel those of the Econometric Society, with historically negative penalties for women turning to positive premiums in recent years.

Suggested Citation

  • Card, David & DellaVigna, Stefano & Funk, Patricia & Iriberri, Nagore, 2021. "Gender Differences in Peer Recognition by Economists," IZA Discussion Papers 14484, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp14484

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David Card & Stefano DellaVigna & Patricia Funk & Nagore Iriberri, 2020. "Are Referees and Editors in Economics Gender Neutral?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 135(1), pages 269-327.
    2. Heather Sarsons & Klarita Gërxhani & Ernesto Reuben & Arthur Schram, 2021. "Gender Differences in Recognition for Group Work," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 129(1), pages 101-147.
    3. Alice H. Wu, 2018. "Gendered Language on the Economics Job Market Rumors Forum," AEA Papers and Proceedings, American Economic Association, vol. 108, pages 175-179, May.
    4. Glenn Ellison, 2013. "How Does the Market Use Citation Data? The Hirsch Index in Economics," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 63-90, July.
    5. Anusha Chari & Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham, 2017. "Gender Representation in Economics Across Topics and Time: Evidence from the NBER Summer Institute," Working Papers 2017-081, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    6. Shelly Lundberg, 2019. "Report: Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession (CSWEP)," AEA Papers and Proceedings, American Economic Association, vol. 109, pages 676-694, May.
    7. Anusha Chari & Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham, 2017. "Gender representation in economics across topics and time: evidence from the NBER," Staff Reports 825, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    8. Amanda Bayer & Cecilia Elena Rouse, 2016. "Diversity in the Economics Profession: A New Attack on an Old Problem," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 221-242, Fall.
    9. Donna K. Ginther & Shulamit Kahn, 2004. "Women in Economics: Moving Up or Falling Off the Academic Career Ladder?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(3), pages 193-214, Summer.
    10. Shulamit Kahn, 2012. "Gender Differences in Academic Promotion and Mobility at a Major Australian University," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 88(282), pages 407-424, September.
    11. Fryer, Roland, 2007. "Belief Flipping in a Dynamic Model of Statistical Discrimination," Scholarly Articles 2955768, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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    More about this item


    peer recognition; citations; publication record; econometric society;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions

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