and to build peer networks of junior
women in similar research areas, the
National Science Foundation funded
a pilot mentoring program in 1998,
“CCOFFE: Creating Career Opportunities for Female Economists.” The
two-day workshop brought eight senior women economists and 40 junior
women economists from the top uni-
THE AMERICAN ECONOMIC Association Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession (CSWEP) has tracked the
representation of women at various
ranks in the profession since the
early 1970s. The statistics indicate
a “leaky pipeline” from Ph.D. pro-
grams into tenured academic jobs.
In 1998, for example, even though
30% of new Ph.D.’s in economics
were earned by women, 26%, 14%,
and 6% of the assistant, associate,
and full professors of economics,
respectively, were women in Ph.D.-
granting departments in the U.S.
Using multiple datasets including
the NSF Survey of Earned Doctor-
ates, researchers find a 14–21 per-
centage point gender gap in the
probability of promotion to tenure
in Economics, controlling for pub-
lications and citations.
analyses point to a lack of research
networks, role models, and men-
tors as potential causes of women’s
failure to advance in economics.
Although this column describes a
study about women in the academic
economics profession, the results
of the study likely apply to women
in the academic computer science
profession as well. The current per-
centages of women in computer sci-
ence graduating with Ph.D.’s and in
the three ranks follow a similar pat-
tern, although less severe, to those
in economics in 1998: new Ph.D.’s
25%; assistant 24%; associate 22%;
and full 14%.
Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT)
To expose junior women to role models (senior women in economics)
Enhances Their Success
A randomized controlled trial validates many of the practices
used to retain women in academia.