Thu, Jan 11, 2018 - Page 9 News List

Field of economics eschews ‘Me Too’ moment for slow reckoning

By Jeanna Smialek  /  Bloomberg

Papers penned by female authors are better-written based on a readability analysis and the gap is far higher in published than draft versions — suggesting they are not just innately better writers; they are editing more.

That is consistent with “tougher editorial standards,” according to research by University of Liverpool economist Erin Hengel.

That could hold back careers in an industry where writing output partially dictates success. Female-authored papers take more than half a year longer to publish in the journal Econometrica than those written by men, Hengel found in her paper, which was featured in the AEA discussion Wolfers organized.

Kearney, 43, is quick to point out that her mentors and role models have been male, and the profession has generally welcomed her.

And economics — a field in which tenured women at top schools are a rarity and three in four undergraduate majors are male — is already in the process of working toward better gender inclusion.

The US Federal Reserve is being led by a woman for the first time, though Fed Chair Janet Yellen is to step down next month after US President Donald Trump picked Jerome Powell to replace her rather than nominate her for a second term.

Or take, for another example, the US Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s annual Jackson Hole conference. At what is arguably the most important central bank idea-fest in the world, gender came into the spotlight in 2009.

That year, the Kansas City Fed noticed that not a single woman was featured as a speaker on the agenda.

The district bank began to actively seek women to attend and speak, and now-president Esther George began to host a small networking session for women attending the event, with the first in 2011.

It started at a restaurant around a single table. Last year it moved to an outdoor patio to accommodate the crowd of women in attendance.

“I ask the women at the table who else should be included in the discussion, who is missing at Jackson Hole, and who are the other women doing work we should know about,” said George, who is one of two women in charge of the Fed’s 12 regional banks. “It takes time, but we are seeing good results.”

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