What Does It Take to Be Top Women Economists? An Analysis Using Rankings in RePEc

Giulia Zacchia
2020 Review of Political Economy  
Women are substantially under-represented in the field of economics all around the world: their progress is slow and just few women reach top positions. From the 1980s, studies document the clear barriers and implicit biases in publishing, promotion, and tenure that women face to enter and to success in the field. The paper aims at contributing to this strand of literature proposing an analysis of gender differences in economics focusing on "excellence" in the profession and in the way the
more » ... pline is conceiving and reproducing it in rankings. Using RePEc as a dataset, I test how different definitions of excellence can systematically advantage or disadvantage women's visibility in rankings of top economists and how it impacts on their probability to receive rightful recognition in academia. I found that, even among top economists, being a woman significantly reduces the probability of reaching the top of the profession by almost 15 pp. The results also underline a problematic relationship between gender and excellence that sets the bar higher for women in reaching the top of the academic career. Women economists, despite their efforts to increase their visibility, tend to receive less recognition than men in terms of promotion to full-professorship based on the criterion of excellence in which they excel. In fact, women are penalised in their academic progresses, not only for their lower productivity in terms of number of published articles than their male colleagues but also for lower returns in promotions for their high performance in terms of citations received. Challenging the assumption about gender neutral excellence is a first important step to challenge power hierarchical patriarchal structures in the economics profession and to advance the representation of women and diverse individuals in apical roles in economics.
doi:10.1080/09538259.2020.1848624 fatcat:tls4ave7irfgblpukb5xr652dm