Jan 30, 2013

Unemployment, Gender, and Research Productivity

On average, graduates published less than one publication per-year, six years after graduation. The authors use "publication data of 9,368 economics PhD graduates from 127 U.S. institutions" from 1987 to 1996. 
The authors focus, however, on how the business cycle affects researh productivity. They say:
. . . graduates of top thirty institutions perform significantly better [in research productivity] than graduates of non-top 30, and female graduates perform significantly worse than male graduates. 
We control for the economic environment prior to start of PhD and at the end of PhD, and we find that availability of academic job positions has a positive effect on research productivity of male and female graduates. This supports earlier findings in the literature.
Unemployment prior to starting PhD has a negative and significant effect on research output of female graduates whereas this affect is positive but (in most specifications) insignificant for male graduates. This is an interesting result, because it points to an important difference between men and women in self-selection of talent into occupations: there exists gender difference in perception of risk in occupations with high skill requirements. This result is in line with previous findings of the literature on competitiveness and risk-aversion of women. 
The paper by Conley, Önder, and Torgler is here (September 2012).
HT: Clarence Nkengne Tsimpo

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