The Economics of Gender Differences in Employment Outcomes in Academia

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This paper summarizes research that examines the relationship between hiring, promotion, and salary for tenure track science and social science faculty using data from the Survey of Doctorate Recipients (SDR). Gender differences in hiring and promotion can be explained by observable characteristics. However, gender differences in salaries persist at the full professor rank. In particular, women in science and social science are less likely to have tenure track jobs within five years of the doctorate when compared with men. However, when controls for marital status and children are included in the analysis, the research finds that unmarried women are significantly more likely to have tenure track jobs than unmarried men. Marriage provides a significant advantage for men relative to women. Presence of children, especially young children, significantly disadvantages women while having no impact on men in obtaining tenure track jobs. The research also finds no significant gender differences in the probability of obtaining tenure in life science, physical science, and engineering. These results also hold for promotion to full professor. However, significant gender promotion differences are evident in the social sciences, in particular, economics. Finally, the research finds large gender differences in salaries are partially explained by academic rank. However, gender salary differences for full professors, on the order of 13% in the sciences, are not fully explained by observable characteristics.

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