In a recent article published in the journal Labour Economics, researchers sought to understand the factors that influence the field of specialization of economics Ph.D. students. In theirarticle, "Gender differences in economics: PhD field specializations with correlated choices," authors Sierminska and Oaxaca studied the field of specialization of economics Ph.D. students in the United States from 1999 to 2010, incorporating Academic Analytics data (via special permission through AARC). They found significant gender differences in the fields that students choose. Specifically, they found that male students were more likely to specialize in fields such as microeconomics and econometrics, while female students were more likely to specialize in fields such as public finance and labor economics.
Further analysis revealed that these differences were largely due to the correlated choices that students make about their field of specialization and their post-graduation plans. Male students who specialize in microeconomics and econometrics are more likely to pursue academic careers; female students who specialize in public finance and labor economics are more likely to pursue careers in the private sector or in government.
These findings have significant implications both within and outside of the academic community. They suggest that the choice of field specialization by economics Ph.D. students may be influenced by career aspirations, which in turn may be influenced by gender-based expectations and biases. This research highlights the need for universities and policy makers to address issues of gender inequality and bias in Academia. By promoting a more diverse and inclusive academic environment, universities can help to ensure that all students have equal opportunities to pursue and succeed in their chosen fields of study.
Citation to the original article:
Sierminska E, Oaxaca R. 2022. Gender differences in economics PhD field specializations with correlated choices. Labour Economics. DOI 10.1016/j.labeco.2022.102289