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

56 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2018 Last revised: 10 May 2019

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: April 6, 2019

Abstract

Who decides notability for American political scientists? This article is part of a larger investigation of the selection and projection of status and notability in American political science, focusing on gender disparities. We focus on 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 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 publication in top journals and visible leadership in the profession increase the likelihood that higher level status positions 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–namely processes where outcomes are scrutinized by an encompassing institution– 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? (April 6, 2019). 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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