This article is just one gem after another.
Many female economists have shared with me their experiences of research being taken less seriously simply because it was written by a woman. The great economic historian Deirdre McCloskey, a distinguished professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has a unique perspective on all of this, having spent the first half of her career as the male economist Donald McCloskey. Today, she reports that it is quite common for her colleagues not to acknowledge a point she has made until it is reinforced by another male economist. That rarely happened when she was Donald.
Interestingly, Ms. Sarsons has performed a parallel analysis of the field of sociology. In contrast to economics, there are no discernible differences in how men and women are given credit for joint work. One possible reason for this happier finding is that sociologists explicitly describe who deserves the most credit in a collaboration, by listing that person as the first author. This explicit attribution eliminates the need to make inferences, reducing the scope for sexist judgments. By contrast, economists list authors alphabetically, and the ensuing ambiguity may give greater space for sexist stereotypes to express themselves. Another possibility is that sociologists, many more of whom are women, are simply less sexist than economists.
See what I mean? The main thrust of the article is a recent paper on sexism in economics…
This paper explores whether bias arising from group work helps explain the gender promotion gap. Using data from economists’ CVs, I test whether coauthored publications matter differently for tenure by gender. While solo-authored papers send a clear signal about one’s ability, coauthored papers do not provide specific information about each contributor’s skills. I find that women incur a penalty when they coauthor that men do not experience. This is most pronounced for women coauthoring with men and less pronounced the more women there are on a paper. A model shows that the bias documented here departs from traditional discrimination models.
… but the entire article is written by someone who really knows their stuff. Dig in.