2014/14 LEM Working Paper Series
Do gender quotas pass the test ? Evidence from academic evaluations in Italy

Manuel Bagues, Mauro Sylos-Labini, Natalia Zinovyeva
gender quotas, discrimination, academic promotions

  JEL Classifications
J71, J16, J45

This papers studies how the presence of women in academic committees affects the chances of success of male and female candidates. We exploit evidence from Italy, where candidates to Full and Associate Professor positions are required to qualify in a nation-wide evaluation known as Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale. In 2013, this evaluation was conducted in 184 academic disciplines and they involved around 70,000 applications and one thousand evaluators who were selected through a lottery. We estimate the causal effect of committees' gender composition on candidates' chances of success exploiting the random assignment of evaluators to committees. In a five-member committee, each additional female evaluator decreases by 2 percentage points the success rate of female candidates relative to male candidates. Information from 274,000 individual evaluation reports shows that, in mixed-gender committees, male and female evaluators are equally biased against female candidates, suggesting that the presence of women in the committee affects the voting behavior of male evaluators.
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