Sunday, May 17, 2009

Should your economics department pay a premium for to attract female faculty?

Suppose the goal of your department or university is to increase the number female majors in economics, math, engineering and science. Consider these results:
This paper begins to shed light on this issue by exploiting a unique dataset of college students who have been randomly assigned to professors over a wide variety of mandatory standardized courses. ... Our results suggest that while professor gender has little impact on male students, it has a powerful effect on female students’ performance in math and science classes, their likelihood of taking future math and science courses, and their likelihood of graduating with a [science, technology, engineering, and math] degree. The estimates are largest for female students with very strong math skills, who are arguably the students who are most suited to careers in science. Indeed, the gender gap in course grades and STEM majors is eradicated when high performing female students’ introductory math and science classes are taught by female professors.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Organizations have utility preference functions.

If the organization's customers (students, legislators, benefactors) value female representation in the academic ranks - then it's natural for the organization to pay a premium for female academics.

The sad thing is that such a utility preference is based on the myth that females are somehow repressed in academe.

Take a staff salary worksheet, and run a regression, salary = f(genderf, experience, science field).

genderf = boolean; experience = years of experience; science field = boolean

I almost guarantee you, you'll get a positive beta estimate for (genderf).

5:00 PM  

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