NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Does Economics Make You Sexist?

Valentina A. Paredes, M. Daniele Paserman, Francisco Pino

NBER Working Paper No. 27070
Issued in May 2020
NBER Program(s):Labor Studies

Recent research has highlighted unequal treatment for women in academic economics along several different dimensions, including promotion, hiring, credit for co-authorship, and standards for publication in professional journals. Can the source of these differences lie in biases against women that are pervasive in the discipline, even among students in the earliest stages of their training? In this paper, we provide evidence on the importance of explicit and implicit biases against women among students in economics relative to other fields. We conducted a large scale survey among undergraduate students in Chilean universities, among both entering first-year students and students in years 2 and above. On a wide battery of measures, economics students are more biased than students in other fields. Economics students are somewhat more biased already upon entry, before exposure to any economics classes. The gap is more pronounced among students in years 2 and above, in particular for male students. We also find an increase in bias in a sample of students that we follow longitudinally. Differences in political ideology explain essentially all the gap at entry, but none of the increase in the gap with exposure. Exposure to female students and faculty attenuates some of the bias.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w27070

 
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