Gender Inequality in Research Productivity During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, Forthcoming

30 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2020 Last revised: 1 Mar 2021

See all articles by Ruomeng Cui

Ruomeng Cui

Goizueta Business School, Emory University

Hao Ding

Goizueta Business School, Emory University

Feng Zhu

Harvard University - Harvard Business School

Date Written: June 9, 2020

Abstract

We study the disproportionate impact of the lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak on female and male academics' research productivity in social science. The lockdown has caused substantial disruptions to academic activities, requiring people to work from home. How this disruption affects productivity and the related gender equity is an important operations and societal question. We collect data from the largest open-access preprint repository for social science on 41,858 research preprints in 18 disciplines produced by 76,832 authors across 25 countries over a span of two years. We use a difference-in-differences approach leveraging the exogenous pandemic shock. Our results indicate that, in the 10 weeks after the lockdown in the United States, although total research productivity increased by 35 percent, female academics' productivity dropped by 13.2 percent relative to that of male academics. We also show that this intensified productivity gap is more pronounced for assistant professors and for academics in top-ranked universities and is found in six other countries. Our work points out the fairness issue in productivity caused by the lockdown, a finding that universities will find helpful when evaluating faculty productivity. It also helps organizations realize the potential unintended consequences that can arise from telecommuting.

Keywords: Gender inequality, research productivity, telecommuting, COVID-19

Suggested Citation

Cui, Ruomeng and Ding, Hao and Zhu, Feng, Gender Inequality in Research Productivity During the COVID-19 Pandemic (June 9, 2020). Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3623492 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3623492

Ruomeng Cui (Contact Author)

Goizueta Business School, Emory University ( email )

1300 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.ruomengcui.com

Hao Ding

Goizueta Business School, Emory University ( email )

1300 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322-2722
United States

Feng Zhu

Harvard University - Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 431
Boston, MA 02163
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/profile.aspx?facId=14938

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