IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Gender Differences in Faculty Turnover


  • Byron W. Brown

    (Michigan State University)

  • Stephen A. Woodbury

    () (W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research)


Over the last 15 to 20 years, colleges and universities have paid increasing attention to attracting and retaining faculty women. The rate of progress of women in academe has nevertheless been painfully slow. For example, statistics on economists collected and published by the American Economic Association (Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession 1994) suggest that in recent years, about 20 percent of Economics assistant professors in graduate Ph.D.-granting departments were women, about 10 percent of associate professors were women, and under 5 percent of full professors were women. The percentage of new assistant professors who are women has lagged behind the percentage of new Ph.D.s who are women by 10 to 15 percentage points. And the percentage of promotions to associate (and full) professor that are accounted for by women has lagged behind the percentage of assistant (and associate) professors who were women and "promotable." One of the explanations (or perhaps excuses) offered for the slow progress of women in academe is that faculty women have higher rates of voluntary turnover than do faculty men. This explanation accords with the general finding that women have higher rates of labor market turnover than do men (Blau and Kahn 1981; Light and Ureta 1992), and may provide a psychic calm both for those frustrated by the slow progress of women in academe and for those who might frustrate that progress. Studies to date of faculty turnover have used grouped (or university-level) data, which usually preclude examination of gender differences in faculty turnover (Ehrenberg, Kasper, and Rees 1991; Rees and Smith 1991). In this paper we offer evidence on faculty turnover using micro data from a single large public university Michigan State University (MSU) during the decade of the 1980s. Our findings suggest strongly that the higher separation rates that are observed for faculty women are accounted for by differences between men and women in appointment status that is, faculty women have higher turnover rates than faculty men because a higher percentage of women than of men hold temporary appointments.

Suggested Citation

  • Byron W. Brown & Stephen A. Woodbury, 1995. "Gender Differences in Faculty Turnover," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 95-34, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:upj:weupjo:95-34

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: This material is copyrighted. Permission is required to reproduce any or all parts.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ehrenberg, Ronald & Kasper, Hirschel & Rees, Daniel, 1991. "Faculty turnover at American colleges and universities: Analyses of AAUP data," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 99-110, June.
    2. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 1981. "Race and Sex Differences in Quits by Young Workers," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 34(4), pages 563-577, July.
    3. Light, Audrey & Ureta, Manuelita, 1992. "Panel Estimates of Male and Female Job Turnover Behavior: Can Female Nonquitters Be Identified?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(2), pages 156-181, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    faculty; college; gender; turnover; Brown; Woodbury;

    JEL classification:

    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:upj:weupjo:95-34. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.