Do Gender Quotas Pass the Test? Evidence from Academic Evaluations in Italy
Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, LEM Working Paper Series 2014/14
28 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2014 Last revised: 1 Sep 2014
Date Written: August 29, 2014
This paper analyzes whether the presence of women in academic committees benefits female candidates. We exploit evidence from Italy, where candidates to Full and Associate Professor positions are required to qualify in a nation-wide evaluation known as Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale. In 2012, these evaluations involved around 66,000 applications in all academic disciplines and around 900 (randomly chosen) evaluators. We estimate the causal effect of committees' gender composition exploiting the procedure of random assignment of evaluators to committees. Each additional female evaluator decreases by 2 percentage points the success rate of female candidates. The effect is similar in magnitude in evaluations for Full and Associate Professor positions, but it is only statistically significant in the later case. Information from 260,000 individual evaluations suggests that the presence of women in the committee affects the voting behavior of men. Overall, our results cast doubts on the convenience of introducing gender quotas in academia.
Keywords: gender quotas, discrimination, academic promotions
JEL Classification: J71, J16, J45
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation