Does Gender Matter for Academic Promotion? Evidence from a Randomized Natural Experiment

Fedea working paper #2010-15

53 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2010 Last revised: 21 Jun 2014

See all articles by Natalia Zinovyeva

Natalia Zinovyeva

Aalto University

Manuel Bagues

Aalto University - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 26, 2010


This paper studies how the gender composition of committees affects promotions. We exploit evidence from a large-scale randomized natural experiment: the system of centralized examinations to determine academic promotions that was implemented in Spain between 2002 and 2006. These competitions involved around 30,000 candidacies and 7,000 (randomly selected) evaluators. In exams to full professor positions, we find that evaluators tend to favor same-sex candidates who belong to their own academic network. This evidence is consistent with the existence of "old boys" and "old girls" networks. In exams to associate professor positions, senior evaluators do not exhibit any gender preference. Female junior evaluators exhibit an opposite-sex preference when assessing candidates from their own institution, perhaps for strategic reasons. Our results suggest that gender quotas may not necessarily increase female representation. Their effect will depend on the extent to which academic networks are gendered, evaluators' strategic concerns, and the position at stake.

Keywords: Academic Promotion, Gender Discrimination, Randomized Natural Experiment

JEL Classification: J71, J45

Suggested Citation

Zinovyeva, Natalia and Bagues, Manuel F., Does Gender Matter for Academic Promotion? Evidence from a Randomized Natural Experiment (May 26, 2010). Fedea working paper #2010-15, Available at SSRN:

Natalia Zinovyeva (Contact Author)

Aalto University ( email )

P.O. Box 21210
Helsinki, 00101

Manuel F. Bagues

Aalto University - Department of Economics ( email )

PO Box 1210
FI-00101 Helsinki


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