Are Referees and Editors in Economics Gender Neutral?

73 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2019

See all articles by David Card

David Card

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Stefano DellaVigna

University of California, Berkeley; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Patricia Funk

University of Lugano

Nagore Iriberri

University of the Basque Country

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Date Written: June 2019

Abstract

We study the role of gender in the evaluation of economic research using submissions to four leading journals. We find that referee gender has no effect on the relative assessment of female- versus male-authored papers, suggesting that any differential biases of male referees are negligible. To determine whether referees as a whole impose different standards for female authors, we compare citations for female and male-authored papers, holding constant referee evaluations and other characteristics. We find that female-authored papers receive about 25% more citations than observably similar male-authored papers. Editors largely follow the referees, resulting in a 6 percentage point lower probability of a revise and resubmit verdict for female-authored papers relative to a citation-maximizing benchmark. In their desk rejection decisions, editors treat female authors more favorably, though they still impose a higher bar than would be implied by citation-maximization. We find no differences in the informativeness of female versus male referees, or in the weight that editors place on the recommendations of female versus male referees. We also find no differences in editorial delays for female versus male-authored papers.

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Suggested Citation

Card, David E. and DellaVigna, Stefano and Funk, Patricia and Iriberri, Nagore, Are Referees and Editors in Economics Gender Neutral? (June 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w25967, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3405154

David E. Card (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

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Stefano DellaVigna

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Patricia Funk

University of Lugano ( email )

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Nagore Iriberri

University of the Basque Country ( email )

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Leioa, Bizkaia 48940
Spain

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