NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Women Helping Women? Role-Model and Mentoring Effects on Female Ph.D. Student in Economics

David Neumark, Rosella Gardecki

NBER Working Paper No. 5733
Issued in August 1996
NBER Program(s):   LS

One potential method to increase the success of female graduate students in economics may be to encourage mentoring relationships between these students and female faculty members. Increased hiring of female faculty is viewed as one way to promote such mentoring relationships, perhaps because of role-model effects. A more direct method of promoting such relationships may be for female graduate students to have female faculty serve as dissertation chairs. The evidence in this paper addresses the question of whether either of these strategies results in more successful outcomes for female graduate students. The evidence is based on survey information on female graduate students and faculties of Ph.D.-producing economics departments, covering the mid-1970s to the early 1990s. With respect to characteristics of the institutions at which students are first placed when leaving graduate school, the empirical evidence provides no support for the hypothesis that outcomes for female graduate students are improved by adding female faculty members, or by having a female dissertation chair. However, with respect to time to complete graduate school, and the completion rate, there is some limited evidence of beneficial effects of female faculty members.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w5733

Published: Journal of Human Resources, Vol. 33, no. 1 (Winter 1998): 220-246.

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