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The Gender Gap Among Fancy Economists at the NBER Summer Institutes

posted by Mitu Gulati

The NBER summer institutes are where the fanciest economists go.  Anusha Chari and Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham have a cool new paper looking at the gender gaps in who gets on the schedule for the NBER summer institutes. 

Here is their basic finding:

Over the period of study (2001-2016), women made up 20.6 percent of all authors on scheduled papers. However, there was large dispersion across programs, with the share of female authors ranging from 7.3 percent to 47.7 percent. While the average share of women rose slightly from 18.5% since 2001-2004, a persistent gap between finance, macroeconomics and microeconomics subfields remains, with women consisting of 14.4 percent of authors in finance,16.3 percent of authors in macroeconomics, and 25.9 percent of authors in microeconomics.

The under-representation in in finance and macro is striking to me.  And got me wondering about what the data might look like if one were to look at the programs for, for example, ALEA or CELS.

The complicated questions, of course, have to do with matters such as causality--whether the results are being driven by choice or discrimination or some complicated interactive dynamic.  That authors do a super job of explicating the complexities, if anyone is interested in delving deeper.

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