Gender and Status in American Political Science: Who Determines Whether a Scholar is Noteworthy?

49 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2018 Last revised: 12 Sep 2018

See all articles by Karen J. Alter

Karen J. Alter

Northwestern University - Department of Political Science; University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Law - iCourts Center of Excellence

Jean Clipperton

Northwestern University - Department of Political Science

Emily Schraudenbach

George Washington University

Laura Rozier

Independent

Date Written: August 20, 2018

Abstract

Who decides notability for American political scientists? This study shines a light on how status is constructed within the discipline of political science. We analyze the presence of American political science faculty who serve in status roles in the discipline, win prestigious awards and prizes, and/or have a Wikipedia page, focusing on gender disparities across these different indicators of status. The paper explores three questions: 1) Do institutions within the discipline of political science – including departments, APSA, editorial boards, academic honor societies – reflect or remedy gender disparities that exist in many forms of recognition, including Wikipedia, appointments to top leadership, and citations? 2) Are institutions with centralized and accountable appointment mechanisms less gender skewed compared to networked and decentralized selection processes where latent bias may go unchecked? 3) Does “leaning in” help? Does gateway service on editorial boards and lower level leadership positions, and publication in top journals increase the likelihood that status will follow, and does it do so equally for men and for women? We find that the distribution of highest status positions is still gender skewed, that women are over-represented in positions that involve more service than prestige, and that ‘leaning in’ by serving as section chair, on editorial boards or on academic councils is not necessarily a gateway to higher status appointments. We also find that accountable appointment processes generate more gender balanced results, but they can also over-compensate leading women to do more service compared to men. The study raises the question of whether we should expect men to do their proportionate share (70%) of lower level leadership, and/or whether we should encourage male service and promote female leadership by drawing from the pool of lower level status appointments.

Keywords: Gender and Politics, Gender and Status, International Relations, American Political Science

JEL Classification: K10, K30

Suggested Citation

Alter, Karen J. and Clipperton, Jean and Schraudenbach, Emily and Rozier, Laura, Gender and Status in American Political Science: Who Determines Whether a Scholar is Noteworthy? (August 20, 2018). Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 18-21. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3235786 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3235786

Karen J. Alter (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Department of Political Science ( email )

601 University Place
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Law - iCourts Center of Excellence ( email )

Karen Blixens Plads 16
Copenhagen, DK-2300
Denmark

Jean Clipperton

Northwestern University - Department of Political Science ( email )

601 University Place (Scott Hall)
Evanston, IL 60201
United States

Emily Schraudenbach

George Washington University ( email )

2121 I Street NW
Washington, DC 20052
United States

Laura Rozier

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

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