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Where Have All the Women Gone? The Gender Gap in Supreme Court Clerkships


David H. Kaye


Penn State Law

Joseph L. Gastwirth


George Washington University - Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

October 1, 2009

Jurimetrics, Vol. 49, No. 4, 2009
Penn State Legal Studies Research Paper No. 15-2010

Abstract:     
In the world of American law, a Supreme Court a clerkship is a position desired by many but attained by few, particularly when it comes to women and minorities. Although women make up nearly half of all law students, they constitute only about a third of all Supreme Court clerks. This article examines the flow of aspiring clerks from law school to the Justices’ chambers in recent years in an effort to locate bottlenecks that lead to this gender gap. It also analyzes whether the Justices, as a group or as individuals, hire fewer women than would be expected in a random draw from a pool of men and women with comparable credentials. We find that some Justices hire fewer women than our simple model would predict, while others hire somewhat more. There are many possible explanations for this pattern, and we discuss several of them.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 45

Keywords: Supreme Court, law clerks, gender, discrimination, statistics, multiple hypothesis testing

JEL Classification: C12, C19

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Date posted: November 10, 2006 ; Last revised: December 9, 2012

Suggested Citation

Kaye, David H. and Gastwirth, Joseph L., Where Have All the Women Gone? The Gender Gap in Supreme Court Clerkships (October 1, 2009). Jurimetrics, Vol. 49, No. 4, 2009; Penn State Legal Studies Research Paper No. 15-2010. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=944058

Contact Information

David H. Kaye (Contact Author)
Penn State Law ( email )
Lewis Katz Building
University Park, PA 16802
United States
814 865-8974 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://law.psu.edu/faculty/resident_faculty/kaye
Joseph L. Gastwirth
George Washington University - Columbian College of Arts and Sciences ( email )
Washington, DC 20052
United States
202-994-6458 (Phone)
202-994-6917 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.gwu.edu/~stat/gastwirth.html
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