Women economists see the world differently

by on September 30, 2012 at 6:14 pm in Economics, Education | Permalink

The biggest disagreement: 76% of women say faculty opportunities in economics favor men. Male economists point the opposite way: 80% say women are favored or the process is neutral.

As for politics:

Female economists tend to favor a bigger role for government while male economists have greater faith in business and the marketplace. Is the U.S. economy excessively regulated? Sixty-five percent of female economists said ‘no’ — 24 percentage points higher than male economists.

The story is here.  The article is “Are Disagreements Among Male and Female Economists Marginal at Best? A Survey of AEA Members and Their Views on Economics and Economic Policy,” Ann Mari May, Mary G. McGarvey and Robert Whaples, Contemporary Economic Policy (forthcoming), but I can’t seem to find a copy on-line.

For the pointer I thank Daniel Klein.

Ryan September 30, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Pretty dismal showing, Economists.

dirk September 30, 2012 at 7:27 pm

“Mood affiliation” is just a euphemism for gender affiliation.

Frank September 30, 2012 at 8:25 pm

At the margin, our views/beliefs are impacted by mood affiliation, which is impacted by hormones and other sex-specific heterogeneities. This impact seems to decrease as you rise in aptitude and education, at least among economists, but it doesn’t disappear.

Finally, the problem with asking such broad questions is that they’re very open to these overarching cognitive biases. More narrow, well-defined questions, that nonetheless demand professional judgement may show considerably less dispersion.

So Much for Subtlety October 1, 2012 at 6:15 am

You do not need to go to hormones to explain this. One question explains the other. The government is a useful tool for things like affirmative action. Do these questions need any other explanation?

It is a simple question of Cui Bono? Women benefit by increased government intervention. No doubt a lot of them would love the government to force more promotions and hires on top league universities. So people are good at rationalizing whatever works to their personal benefit.

Sometimes broad questions are perfectly good as a way of bringing out the larger picture.

Asdf September 30, 2012 at 7:40 pm

I wonder if you guys take pleasure in sneaking in thoughtcrimes. Is there a rush that you pulled one over?

Jamie September 30, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Does knowing this change your meta analysis on the margin?

Put a different way, given that gender so clearly has an effect on policy preferences, and I assume you respect economic analysis regardless of the gender of the producer, what does this say to you?

BC October 1, 2012 at 9:03 am

I’m not sure that gender does effect policy preferences as much as these types of studies, and conventional wisdom, suggest. On the politics side, for example, the so-called gender gap is a myth: married women actually supported George W. Bush and support Romney, at least as of a few weeks ago (not sure about most recent polls). It’s only single women that tend to prefer larger government, etc. So, any study or explanation of the reasons for these policy preference differences must include explanations of how married women differ from single women.

Did this study distinguish between married female economists and single female economists?

JWatts October 1, 2012 at 11:17 am

“On the politics side, for example, the so-called gender gap is a myth”

The gender gap as reported is biased. Romney has a problem because of the female gender gap isn’t any more notable than Obama has a problem because of the male gender gap. However, the Obama male gender gap is rarely reported, except as an aside comment in an article primarily about the Romney female gender gap.

Careless October 1, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Married women supported Bush, married men supported Bush more. The gap remains.

And am I the only one always bothered by the use of “women” as an adjective?

Anon. September 30, 2012 at 8:24 pm

>Is the U.S. economy excessively regulated? Sixty-five percent of female economists said ‘no’

What the FUCK?!

I refuse to believe this.

jeff September 30, 2012 at 8:31 pm

pretty poor question…

weareastrangemonkey October 1, 2012 at 1:34 am

Excessively regulated is different from poorly regulated.

I think many might read the question as “Do you think the government should be less involved in the economy?”. If so 65% doesn’t seem crazy. Economists are not as anti-government as the average MR reader.

DocMerlin October 1, 2012 at 9:21 am

Most economists are very D leaning and few are R or L leaning. Its less extreme than the other social sciences, but its not conservative like engineering or accounting is.

Zephyrus October 1, 2012 at 12:27 pm

I’m skeptical of the idea that engineering is conservative. Maybe split 50/50, though with a substantial influx of social liberalism and market liberal ideas on both halves.

Hard sciences are, of course, highly liberal.

Andrew' October 1, 2012 at 3:17 pm

By scientists I assume you mean academics, which would be fine except something on the order of 85% of PhDs don’t become professors.

Same for engineers. It is relatively conservative, and also you have to parse when “moderate” means libertarian as well as that people who don’t like academia won’t stay there.

Andrew' October 1, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Table 8 of the paper “THE SOCIAL AND POLITICAL VIEWS OF AMERICAN PROFESSORS” has a detailed breakdown.

One eyeball correlation I might make is that the more the subject is associated with post baccalaureate degrees the more liberal/Democrat. E.g. education, accounting, finance, engineering, and computer science are relatively conservative.

ladderff September 30, 2012 at 8:32 pm

The real news is that this is news.

Claudia September 30, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Sigh. Some quick reactions 1) It’s impossible to evaluate this piece without seeing the article and the survey questions. I have seen economists ponder ambiguous survey questions and it ain’t pretty. 2) Duh, men and women are different, no amount of education and professional socialization with men has changed my hormones and information processing (thank goodness), it has only me mindful of the fact that we’re different. 3) I agree that both women and men should be part of the economic policy-making process, since a diversity of views/approaches is often critical. 4) I would be shocked if the following were not true (by a lot): female and male economists see the world more similarly than female and male non-economists, also note that female and male economists often have different specialties (by choice, of course) and different reasons for entering economics (I’ve met very few female economists with physics envy…I have a hard time even understanding it and I thought physics was fun).

Hasdrubal October 3, 2012 at 4:41 pm

“also note that female and male economists often have different specialties”

This is the first thing I thought of. I would imagine a labor economist would have a different opinion of whether or not the government is too intrusive than an industrial organization specialist. And they could both be entirely right, but talking about completely different things. And if more women tend to specialize in labor while more men focus on IO, you can get a gender imbalance without a real difference in actual opinions.

Maybe not the magnitude of difference that this story is saying, but it could b significant.

ad*m September 30, 2012 at 9:09 pm

When a male economist sees Great Stagnation, does a female economist see Best Equilibrium?

But more important for our future, can we extend this hypothesis to other professions?
Do female physicians less often favor surgery or agressive therapies over less agressive therapies, do male fighter pilots more often favor attack over containment, do female engineers more often favor safety over affordability, do male CEOs more often favor take-overs versus mergers.

I assume you can see where this is leading our future.

Claudia September 30, 2012 at 9:15 pm

yep, out of the Great Stagnation. you do realize that progress often involves change, right?

derek September 30, 2012 at 9:31 pm

The conservatives in the real meaning of the word, reactionary even, end up being those tending left in common usage.

Andrew Edwards September 30, 2012 at 10:22 pm

You assume wrong – where do you think this is leading our future?

liberalarts September 30, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Has anyone done a study to see whether male or female economists are more or less likely to land positions at universities that are more highly (less highly) ranked than their PhD school? That doesn’t answer the question, but it would certainly be a start.

Miley Cyrax September 30, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Interestingly that the greater female preference/tolerance vis a vis men for protection and authoritarianism at the expense of freedom and independence is detectable even amongst a constrained sample. It is perhaps no coincidence that women have a lesser penchant for risk in general.

Claudia September 30, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Yes and interestingly men tend to be more overconfident in their abilities than women http://faculty.haas.berkeley.edu/odean/papers%20current%20versions/boyswillbeboys.pdf Seems related too.

Bill September 30, 2012 at 10:37 pm

+1 Ouch.

Miley Cyrax September 30, 2012 at 10:48 pm

Indeed. Over-confidence, especially male over-confidence, is (over?) rewarded in many aspects of life–from getting deals approved in the boardroom to getting women into the bedroom.

Claudia September 30, 2012 at 10:57 pm

Read the paper, Miley, overconfidence means they f-up more not that they get f-ed more. I suspect that a firm belief in one’s ability also makes one more comfortable with the vagaries of the free market. Of course confidence can be good, but so can risk aversion, depends on the context and the degree.

Miley Cyrax September 30, 2012 at 11:05 pm

I’m more than familiar with the effects of hubris on trading, Claudia.

Whatever makes you think I was talking about the paper or that I think unbounded confidence is a good thing? I don’t see a mentioning of deal-making in the paper either.

Sounds like you have an axe to grind.

Claudia October 1, 2012 at 9:41 am

Of course, I do…”it takes a (diverse) village” to do almost anything well. Gender is just one of the many, many dimensions that people differ on. I am not anti-male economist in the least…all of my mentors and many of my classmates/colleagues have been men.

To end on a high note…on deal-making with diverse perspectives, I thought this was a great article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444549204578020252883039778.html

Bill October 1, 2012 at 8:49 am

Miley, Overconfidence had a negative consequence, based on the paper:

Theoretical models predict that overconŽdent investors trade excessively. We
test this prediction by partitioning investors on gender. Psychological research
demonstrates that, in areas such as Žnance, men are more overconŽdent than
women. Thus, theory predicts that men will trade more excessively than women.
Using account data for over 35,000 households from a large discount brokerage,
we analyze the common stock investments of men and women from February 1991
through January 1997. We document that men trade 45 percent more than
women. Trading reduces men’s net returns by 2.65 percentage points a year as
opposed to 1.72 percentage points for women.

Miley Cyrax October 1, 2012 at 10:01 am

Bill, what makes you think I disagree? Over-confidence, is by definition, going to have some negative effects. And from a relatively efficient markets perspective, any belief in one’s ability to generate alpha will likely lead to subpar results.

Doc Merlin October 1, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Miley is incorrect. Overconfidence in the form of entrepreneuralism is essential for the market to function. I can’t find the paper now, but the optimal level of new business formation, in order for the market to find the proper choices requires individually irrationally optimistic entry. Luckily humans have evolved men to be more irrationally optimistic so we end up with a far globally better result than we otherwise would.

Miley Cyrax October 1, 2012 at 4:28 pm

In re-reading the preceding posts, I believe you are addressing Bill.

I recall that the EV for entrepreneurship is negative, so therefore it’s plausible that over-confidence is strong driver for widespread entrepreneurship, and thus net-net male over-confidence is necessary for all the nice shiny trinkets we have in society.

Dave September 30, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Should this be all that surprising?

This greater risk aversion also seems to explain most of the differences in voting preference in the US – something long observed. By contrast, to quote this paper:

While we might expect women to hold more positive attitudes toward abortion than men since legalized abortion provides women the right to control their own bodies, much research finds no significant gender differences in abortion attitudes (Cook, Jelen & Wilcox, 1992; Ebaugh & Haney, 1980; Granberg & Granberg, 1985; Strickler & Danigelis, 2002; Walzer, 1994). Where gender difference is found, men tend to report slightly more support for abortion than women (Craig & O’Brien, 1993), particularly among samples who are single (Hertel & Russell, 1999), young adults (Misra & Hohman, 2000) and college students (Carlton, Nelson & Coleman, 2000).

It would be nice if journalists could be honest about this amidst all the talk of a “war on women”. Even the NYT’s own polling data showed most women opposed to requiring the religious organizations to pay for birth control.

JWatts October 1, 2012 at 11:23 am

“It would be nice if journalists could be honest about this amidst all the talk of a “war on women”.

“I think your sentence was too long. It should have read: “It would be nice if journalists could be honest”. ;)

dcdrone September 30, 2012 at 10:46 pm

Feminism–> social collapse bc unleashed female desire prefers impregnation by alphas that they can’t get to settle down, followed state support, over settling down with a “boring” beta. Thus the stagerring rise in single mothers.

In a word, alpha f*cks and beta bucks, that’s the way we roll . . .

oki September 30, 2012 at 11:45 pm

There there, as soon as your Russian mail ordered bride arrives all that tension you feel towards women passing you over will go away. Just hang in there.

dcdrone October 1, 2012 at 12:21 am

more like i object to the orc hordes spawned my single moms of all socio-economic classes.

Sbard October 1, 2012 at 12:24 am

At least until she leaves with a green card and half his stuff.

NAMEREDACTED October 1, 2012 at 9:24 am

He has little way of enforcing the contract, really. So, you run into the exact same problem as a domestic-bride marriage.

Dismalist September 30, 2012 at 10:53 pm

Charlie Darwin will take care of all this, one way or the other.

gbalella October 1, 2012 at 4:09 am

Yes… some day society will be run by women and men will be relegated to the position of sperm donors. It works well for the ants.

JWatts October 1, 2012 at 11:26 am

“It works well for the ants.”

I suppose that’s true. For some definition of ‘well’, that is.

Careless October 1, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Largest portion of animal biomass, sounds like it’s working well from a darwninian perspective.

uffy October 1, 2012 at 11:19 pm

What’s the “other” way?

prior_approval September 30, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Well, in the physical sciences, there is this bit of research –

‘Despite efforts to recruit and retain more women, a stark gender disparity persists within academic science. Abundant research has demonstrated gender bias in many demographic groups, but has yet to experimentally investigate whether science faculty exhibit a bias against female students that could contribute to the gender disparity in academic science. In a randomized double-blind study (n = 127), science faculty from research-intensive universities rated the application materials of a student—who was randomly assigned either a male or female name—for a laboratory manager position. Faculty participants rated the male applicant as significantly more competent and hireable than the (identical) female applicant. These participants also selected a higher starting salary and offered more career mentoring to the male applicant. The gender of the faculty participants did not affect responses, such that female and male faculty were equally likely to exhibit bias against the female student. Mediation analyses indicated that the female student was less likely to be hired because she was viewed as less competent. We also assessed faculty participants’ preexisting subtle bias against women using a standard instrument and found that preexisting subtle bias against women played a moderating role, such that subtle bias against women was associated with less support for the female student, but was unrelated to reactions to the male student. These results suggest that interventions addressing faculty gender bias might advance the goal of increasing the participation of women in science.’

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/09/14/1211286109#aff-1

One of the things most interesting about this study was how they submitted CVs where the only difference was the first name – and the difference in results was provable.

I realize that economists have an extremely difficult time with the rigors of the scientific method, but considering the disparity in results in the (not detailed) polling, someone should be able to at least design a study to quantify what is going on. Though considering the number of male economists who find the system already either neutral or tilted against men, I’m fairly certain that the work is unlikely to be supported by such standard bearers of the status quo.

Larry Summers was simply wrong – bias provably exists, and it is not biologically based. But then, Summers is an economist, so it isn’t exactly surprising that he holds a view which isn’t actually based on reality.

weareastrangemonkey October 1, 2012 at 2:09 am

That’s an interesting paper. However, it may be the case that conditioning on the information in the CV women have lower expected productivity. Those hiring have experience of the productivity of male and female candidates given various academic credentials. Hence, sex would contain information that is not present in the rest of the CV. This would imply an apparent bias in selection. However, it would in fact be an unbiased decision based on the selectors experience of male and female performance given various CVs.

The paper shows only that male candidates are preferred over female candidates conditioned on some observables. To be proof of bias you must assume that sex contains no pertinent information about the productivity of the candidate: which is essentially assuming your answer. The results reported in this paper do not imply the existence of prejudice against women in the academic job market.

Also, It would behoove you to drop the snide side swiping at economists and the scientific method. People will tend to ignore you and miss anything of substance that you have to say.

FYI: Summers view was not based on economic theory but the work of the psychology community. They claimed that the variance in male IQ was higher than females. He assumed that other sciences were doing their job right.

Tom West October 1, 2012 at 10:19 am

However, it would in fact be an unbiased decision based on the selectors experience of male and female performance given various CVs.

No, this would imply bias. Bias is bias, supported by statistical results or not, as soon as you stop evaluating the candidate as an individuals, and start evaluating them based on whatever group memberships they may have, sex, skin color, hair color, country of origin, religion, spelling of their name, etc.

andy October 1, 2012 at 10:32 am

Education, experience….

Interestingly enough: on the input side you have some information – education, experience, gender..
Output: expected productivity… E(P) ;)

If ‘gender’ information actually has impact on productivity, including this information in the E would yield better answer to ‘expected productivity’… Statistically, I think it would called ‘unbiased’ in both cases.

weareastrangemonkey October 1, 2012 at 1:30 pm

I was referring to being unbiased in the statistical sense as Andy points out. I think it is the appropriate sense in this case.

Group membership contains information. This information may become irrelevant on receiving further information about the individual. However, if the decision maker doesn’t have access to this extra information then it is poor judgement to ignore this information.

This does not mean the phenomenon is not a problem. I am just saying that the preference for male candidates need not be due to a fundamental distaste for women or a false belief that men are better in expectation. Ignoring the possibility that it might be based on a rational evaluation of the persons expected productivity may lead to poor policy responses for tackling the problem.

I suspect that the preference is really rooted in the practices and conventions surrounding child rearing. The current set up is such that women will be expected to have less productive careers than men conditioning on their CVs. If this is true then policy needs to target thinks like maternity and paternity leave rather than accusing the process of being sexist.

Note, I still think that understanding and tackling prejudice/sexism in the work place is very important. My commentary is largely an analysis of what we can infer from the cited paper.

prior_approval October 1, 2012 at 10:35 am

So, why don’t we let Summers speak for himself, as quoted in the wiki article –

‘Summers said that “even small differences in the standard deviation [between genders] will translate into very large differences in the available pool substantially out [from the mean]”.[36] Summers referenced research that implied differences between the standard deviations of males and females in the top 5% of twelfth graders under various tests. He then went on to argue that, if this research were to be accepted, then “whatever the set of attributes… that are precisely defined to correlate with being an aeronautical engineer at MIT or being a chemist at Berkeley… are probably different in their standard deviations as well”.’

As was demonstrated by the study involving sending out of identical CVs, the ‘difference’ to be ‘precisely correlated’ with being a physical scientist is the first name, at least in terms of actually being accepted into the program to begin with.

One can extrapolate that this effect may not actually be uniquely focussed in physical science university departments, though I’m sure that for far too many commenters here, that is just an extrapolation too far. Not that they have any problem talking about alpha males without realizing humans are primates, and not canines.

But the only variable in that study was a name, which was then used as a marker for the applicant being male and female. The results speak for themselves, and it isn’t biology which is the cause.

lords of lies October 1, 2012 at 12:42 pm

if women are observationally and measurably less competent or less innovative than men in the sciences and math, then it makes sense for reviewers of CVs to infer conclusions based on name alone. it’s called pattern recognition, which liberals have been warring against since the first thoughtcrime punctured the dreamy haze of their faculty lounges.

ps there are neurological studies which show that men’s and women’s brains are biologically differently wired. does bias explain that?

weareastrangemonkey October 1, 2012 at 1:00 pm

I do not find it unlikely that there is genuine prejudice against selecting women for academic posts. However, the paper you reference does not provide definitive proof of this.

Your response shows that you did not fully understand my response. I suggest you read more carefully and think a little longer about what I have said.

It would be kind if you also took a little more time to read over your own responses before posting. The last one was difficult to understand.

Careless October 1, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Your post isn’t even wrong.

Andrew' October 1, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Lots of things going on. One is the chicken or the egg problem of whether bias results from past results or are results biased by the glass ceiling. Another is that there are some jobs where bias works in your favor. Lab manager is not a professor. A professor hires a lab manager to be basically an enforcer. If dudes are better pains in the ass than chicks, or just assumed to be by those they are intended to intimidate, then a bias may be rewarded. There is also no small measure of brute labor in such a job.

The candidates apparently also had no lab manager experience. So, the hiring professor must visualize how effective of a lab manager they might be.

Brian Donohue October 1, 2012 at 8:07 am

Bias exists. Your conclusion on the biological basis for these differences is unwarranted and, probably, wrong. I’m no Larry Summers fan, but he may have been onto one of those awkward truths that must not be spoken in polite PC society.

Tom West October 1, 2012 at 10:24 am

No, Larry Summers got into the hot water he deserved because regardless of what he said, his remarks were interpreted as (1) there is no bias (which is obviously wrong) and (2) women can’t do science (which he didn’t say).

The point is that as a public figure that represents a major institution, you are responsible not only for what your words actually say, but how they are actually used. That’s the difference between being the scientist earning 100K and the boss earning ten times that. Realizing how your words will be used is part of the job. And he failed that part, big time.

lords of lies October 1, 2012 at 12:33 pm

iow, summers didn’t soften his ugly truths with a glaze of pretty lies.

msgkings October 1, 2012 at 3:06 pm

He probably used too many capital letters as well.

Tom West October 1, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Funny, I’ve seen two managers convey the same basic facts with different framings and wordings. One turned the department into a seething mess, the other galvanized the employees. You might dismiss the difference as pretty lies. I’d call it good management.

And, of course, two basic untruths came out of his talk. Many believed that there was no discrimination in hiring, which is pretty much manifestly false, and others believed that now Harvard had proved that women can’t do science, at least that’s how one teacher (!) explained it to me.

Sorry, but Summers failed there. The fact that these were misinterpretations and there were those who took advantage of the blunder to further their own agenda is immaterial.

msgkings October 1, 2012 at 3:52 pm

The day a Roissy/HBD troll like lol will understand anything about managing anything will never arrive.

So Much for Subtlety October 1, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Tom West, a Head of a College, speaking to colleagues, is not like any other CEO. CEOs live in a hostile world where their words will be twisted by people who hate them. Usually in the media.

Summers was speaking to tenured academics. People he treated like grown ups. Having a grown up conversation. He was wrong only because they refused to behave like grown ups. That is an indictment on the faculty, not on Summers.

Academia ought to be about the free exchange of ideas. Forcing people to engage in PC pieties impedes that process. Summers should not have had to dress up what he said. And the only issue should have been whether he was wrong. He wasn’t. Those who objected should have been fired and sent back down to the Minors – perhaps to teach Middle School – until they understand what it is that academics should and should not do.

Tom West October 1, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Actually, I’d have to say that President of Harvard is nothing *except* P.R. and perhaps a some administration. You need academic credentials for show, but really, there’s nothing even slightly academic about it. (Which is why you earn multiples of what an academic earns…)

Your job is to keep the students, alumni, staff, faculty, local, state, and federal governments happy.

If he wanted to be an academic, then he shouldn’t have taken a non-academic position. There’s a reason that presidents don’t get tenure.

Andrew' October 2, 2012 at 8:11 am

Perhaps Summers did fail, though it is hard to believe he expected his talk to go viral the way it did. What if Summers didn’t wake up that morning and decide to be an impish provocateur.

Maybe there is a version of the Peter Principle where agitators agitate to the point where they find the boundary of acceptable political incorrectness.

So Much for Subtlety October 2, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Maybe the job of the President of Harvard is nothing but PR. But that does not change the fact that Summers treated the academics like grown ups and they behaved like spoiled kindergarten children. He had a perfectly reasonable expectation that speaking to grown ups – people whose job it is to shape the minds of the most important grown ups in America – they would behave like grown ups.

Sure, he shouldn’t go on CNN and speak the truth. But to academics? People who deal in ideas, not pieties?

Millian October 1, 2012 at 2:30 pm

“I realize that economists have an extremely difficult time with the rigors of the scientific method”

Snark, snark. Hope you feel better about yourself. But if you’re being sincere, not really. It’s just harder to replicate an observation of 300 million people through time than an observation of particle behaviour.

taybul October 1, 2012 at 11:57 pm

“These results suggest that interventions addressing faculty gender bias might advance the goal of increasing the participation of women in science.”

I’d like to know why this is ‘the goal’.

The goal ought to be to provide equal *opportunity* regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation.

MPS17 October 1, 2012 at 12:30 am

Are you aware that the title of this post is implicitly sexist?

That is, by saying “women see … differently,” you are implying a standard way of seeing things which is implicitly that of the men. The proper way to title this is “Men and Women see … differently.”

Alexei Sadeski October 1, 2012 at 1:38 am

So brave of you to say that.

Andrew' October 1, 2012 at 5:10 am

“Womyn,” for that matter.

affenkopf October 1, 2012 at 5:36 am

Actually on MR it is pretty brave to say that.

DW October 1, 2012 at 11:12 am

+1

Careless October 1, 2012 at 11:05 pm

ERm… why? What happens to people who say that? They’re mildly mocked by Alexei?

JWatts October 1, 2012 at 11:32 am

“The proper way to title this is “Men and Women see … differently.””

Ah, yes the ‘proper way’ to write it. What we really need is a standard protocol to determine the way every idea should be expressed to prevent any kind of bias or incorrect thinking.

Tom West October 1, 2012 at 3:35 pm

What we really need is a polite reminder that phrasing *does* impact how people view the basic idea and thus is an important part of communication. And happily enough, MPS17 provided that polite reminder.

Being male and not always careful, I hadn’t noticed the flaw in the title. Thanks for pointing it out, MPS17.

MPS17 October 1, 2012 at 8:26 pm

I meant “objective” or “unbiased” or “detached” when I said “proper.” I guess I assumed that Tyler did not intend to write a biased title and thus I instinctively assigned the value judgment implied by the word “proper.” It was a hasty mistake.

Walleye October 1, 2012 at 11:59 am

That underlying assumption probably explains this pullquote:

“The biggest disagreement: 76% of women say faculty opportunities in economics favor men. Male economists point the opposite way: 80% say women are favored or the process is neutral.”

If the assumption is that ‘economists are usually men’ is prevalent, it’s no surprise that a woman might feel disadvantaged in the field. In addition, the reaction to someone belonging to a minority group (be it gender, race, etc) advancing in an area dominated by the majority group is often ascribed to everything but merit, so the second sentence is no surprise either.

Millian October 1, 2012 at 2:31 pm

” by saying “women see … differently,” you are implying a standard way of seeing things which is implicitly that of the men.”

No, it is implying that women see things differently to men.

Miley Cyrax October 1, 2012 at 4:26 pm

And why do you put “men” before “women”? You are just another member of the patriarchy relegating women to second class citizenship. Nor is the situation ameliorated by putting “women” before “men,” one would just then be condescending to women and therefore also misogynist.

Something more like “the two sexes see… differently, where the sexes are of course social constructs” is more like it.

Claudia October 1, 2012 at 7:47 pm

This thread made me smile, thanks MPS17. Though I don’t see the post title as sexist. I did notice the bad grammar. An erudite male colleague once corrected me that “women” is not an adjective. So I was having fun inserting a mental comma in the title. More importantly, the title reminded me of an earlier exchange. When I was a research assistant at Brookings, I prepared a chart for my boss of labor force participation rates by gender over time. As my boss and I looked at the chart, I said “wow, men are becoming like women” and he said “no, women are becoming like men.” It was funny because both statements were observationally equivalent and yet we were each attached to our phrasing. So yes, two people often see the same world differently. I think it’s a huge step to understand not everyone has your eyes and furthermore your eyes are not always ‘right’. You will get to that lesson more quickly and resolutely if you’re around many types of people.

Tom’s point on phrasing (or framing) is an important one. Not everyone has your eyes or your ears. Once a few snide remarks (probably just a joke) from a superior almost sent me in an existential economist tailspin. I should have blown it off, but I was self conscious and new at my job. Yes, it was a good life lesson and it toughened me up to play with the softies here, but it was not fun or motivating. So even if you’re not subject to framing, I’d say it’s wise to understand how it works. It’s not about being PC, it’s about being respectful and empathetic.

Tom West October 1, 2012 at 9:54 pm

So I was having fun inserting a mental comma in the title.

Went back to the title and re-read it – thank you for my chuckle of the day.

Steve Sailer October 1, 2012 at 4:26 am

In general, economics tends to attract the more Aspie / autistic versions of the male brain. Economics would benefit if economists listened to their wives more.

JL October 1, 2012 at 8:08 am

Do you mean like Krugman does? I disagree.

Matt October 1, 2012 at 2:27 pm

+1

Andrew' October 1, 2012 at 5:09 am

What say you economists on this: women see themselves as a more monolithic bloc. When is the last time you hears a commercial star with the words “As a man…”?

affenkopf October 1, 2012 at 5:37 am

Dr. Pepper Ten?

Michael October 1, 2012 at 6:08 am

Probably looking at tv/radio commercials is not the best way to do social science.

Also, my guess is that if you believe you can start any true sentence with “Women see themselves…” you are probably viewing women as a monolithic bloc.

Andrew' October 1, 2012 at 8:18 am

So, I present data and you have insinuations…

People don’t make commercials with “as a woman” because they don’t work and all the ones about men: Hardees, Man Show, etc. are all tongue-in-cheek.

Andrew' October 1, 2012 at 8:35 am

BTW, isn’t the post, story, and paper entirely premised on viewing men and women monolithically?

Claudia October 1, 2012 at 8:39 am

Men are more visual…I’ve watched plenty of commercials and movies that are clearly “pitched” to men. So what? Yes, male humor is, um, different. Congrats on the (most?) off topic thread.

Andrew' October 1, 2012 at 8:45 am

Okay, to borrow from Adam Carolla, people are wildly oblivious to stuff.

The kid was watching Thomas The Train and my wife commented that this was her least favorite kid’s video. I said, “yeah, and I wonder what is up with all the ‘useful engine’ stuff.” She said “What are you talking about?”

Anyway, I’ll check back in a few years.

Andrew' October 1, 2012 at 9:18 am

Off-topic?

Well, my model that women see THEMSELVES as more monolithic than men explains every result in the story. Maybe that’s off-topic, but then what the heck could be the topic?

Andrew' October 1, 2012 at 9:22 am

And sheesh, people:

“The survey of 400 economists is one of the first to examine whether gender differences matter within a profession. The answer for economists: Yes.”

One of the first within a profession? If that is true, maybe you think there could be some room for wild theories in a subject where almost no literature exists?

The D-man October 1, 2012 at 10:09 am

SpikeTV

Andrew' October 1, 2012 at 10:45 am

I’m still not communicating effectively. Yes, there are plenty of things men like and women like (men like women, for example)…thus we are different, yes. Sure. Okay. However, do men like SpikeTV because they think they should…”as a Man.”? It’s not about whether we are different, but how much do we consciously self-sort into roles based on expectations about ourselves? Do you feel reinforced…as a man…if you go out and buy the Hardees double ick burger because a couple hot babes were dripping condements on their chests? Now, we just like burgers and hot babes.

Steve Sailer October 1, 2012 at 6:37 am

Female economists tend to be more pragmatic, less theory entranced.

Andrew' October 1, 2012 at 8:22 am

Or more interested. The biggest discrepancies have to do with gender pay differential and economics careers. Perhaps being interested tends to drive people into group identification. Or, being down tends to drive you into alliances. Again, I’m not a social scientist (and neither are they, zing!).

The Original D October 1, 2012 at 10:10 am

Isn’t this also true of engineers?

JWatts October 1, 2012 at 11:39 am

“Female economists tend to be more pragmatic, less theory entranced.”
“Isn’t this also true of engineers?”

In my experience, no it’s not true at all. Male engineers tend to be far more pragmatic on preferring what works regardless of the theory, rules or legal ramifications. Women engineers tend to be the ones bringing up objections based upon why are we doing this differently than the text book, manual, OSHA rule, etc indicate we should. Not that I’m implying a right way and a wrong way here. Usually the objections are worth considering and sometimes they are basis of the final decision and sometime they are not. The world is a complex place.

Andrew' October 1, 2012 at 8:50 am

What is the economic justification for requiring employers to provide insurance?

Doc Merlin October 1, 2012 at 9:27 am

Its arbitrage around the income tax system.

Andrew' October 1, 2012 at 9:51 am

Isn’t that the economic case against the employer-based insurance? A tax subsidy for insurance increases medical spending- as the female economist said on NPR’s Planet Money segment on the Economists Presidential platform. Also, as a tax deduction it is kind of regressive, although pooling with other employees can be progressive.

paul October 1, 2012 at 9:06 am

FYI, wordpress is currently rejecting most comments with the message, “You are posting comments too quickly.” It seems to allow approximately one comment per post in a 24 hour period… Not sure if this is intended or not.

Doc Merlin October 1, 2012 at 9:28 am

Keep trying to post the same post over and over. It will eventually let you through. Its horribly and stupidly bugged.

JWatts October 1, 2012 at 11:45 am

Yes, it’s a stupid bug. Indeed, my first post of the day will often get the message, but later posts may or may not. You can just keeping using your browser back function and clicking the ‘Submit’ button again and it will eventually process your reply. I conjecture there might be a point where it ‘really’ won’t let you submit again, but I’m not sure when that would kick in for real.

Willitts October 1, 2012 at 12:17 pm

When I see survey results like this, I’m reminded of the OJ Simpson verdict. 70-80% of one group or the other is wrong.

Once you get past the few examples of prolific female economists, reality strikesyou that women in the profession publish far less but get tenurenonetheless. And in most marriages between economists, the husbands tends to be the better economists. At many universities, women will get tenure with few meaningful publications.

This finding need not be dispositive of sexism. I don’t have data on rejection rates for publication or whether brilliant women self select into fields other than economics because prospects are more lucrative.

lilspark October 3, 2012 at 11:28 am

one word… Hermaphrodite
Now where does the argument lie?

overnight fioreset October 23, 2012 at 9:22 am

Brian, I am totally agree with your thoughts. Keep doing these type of work.

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