Why Don’t Female Economists Blog?

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Eight of the top 100 male economists (according to RePEc’s rankings) write a blog. But of the 39 women who ranked in the top 1,000, none  blog.  Matthew Kahn examines this disparity, writing, “A Household Production Theory of leisure would posit that men have more leisure time than working women and that nerdy guys spend more time reading and writing blog posts (such as this one). If women who work are also providing more time in ‘home production’ in cooking and rearing children then the time budget constraint will bind.”  How big of a problem is this?  Is blogging really a valuable pasttime?  Kahn thinks it is: “The shrewd academic uses his blog to market his ideas and to ‘amplify’ his new academic results. This is a type of branding … If women are not participating in this sector, then excellent women are losing certain opportunities that the blogger class takes for granted.” Hunches/theories?

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  1. Shane says:

    No idea, though it’s worth noting that Wikipedia is overwhelmingly edited by males. I am a member of a number of online political discussion forums and these too are male-majority. One, an International Relations forum, had several female owners and at some stages female members were disproportionately represented among the moderators. Female members behaved similarly to males, they were just as eager for aggressive debate. But there were simply far fewer of them. Don’t really know why.

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  2. Karen says:

    Since there are only a few women in the top 1,000 then why don’t you just save some time and just ask them? Wouldn’t that be the easiest way to find out?

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  3. Chris Masse says:

    It seems obvious to me that all this is additional proof that women are not good at transcendence.

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  4. Shri Ram Vetury says:

    This is a really interesting blog post. In stark contrast to these findings, was a recent TED talk by Joanna Blakey on how social media is influencing gender neutral participation in online communities. Joanna argues that ‘Women actually outnumber men in their use of social media.’ Perhaps economists are an exception to this rule – at 7% for men anyway, that is significantly lower than so many other professions. Interesting.

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    • Veera Luhtala says:

      I’d see participating in social media more like staying in contact with peeps via facebook than blogging about my views on things. It’s more about the discussion and less about giving a lecture.

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  5. DaveyNC says:

    Too busy making sammiches? :)

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  6. Dave says:

    I’d argue that most of the “household use of labor” arguments suggesting that women work more make some questionable assumptions. If the Telegraph is to be believed, in a recent such survey by the OECD “shopping, soaking in the bath, grooming, having a lie-in or taking a long lunch all count as work rather than leisure. ” I’ve seen similar reports (and perhaps it’s even in this OECD one) in which things like lawn maintenance, home repairs, and the like are considered as male leisure time.

    Similarly, other reports like the World Economic Forum’s dubiously titled Global Gender Gap Index focus on female empowerment rather than a global gender gap. See p. 4/5 of that report: “The type of scale chosen determines whether the index is rewarding women’s empowerment or gender equality. To capture gender equality, two possible scales were considered. One was a negative-positive scale capturing the size and direction of the gender gap.This scale essentially penalizes either men’s advantage over women or women’s advantage over men, and gives the highest points to absolute equality.The second was a one-sided scale that measures how close women are to reaching parity with men but does not reward or penalize countries for having a gender gap in the other direction.Thus it does not reward countries for having exceeded the parity benchmark. We find the one-sided scale more appropriate for our purposes.”

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  7. Ian Fellows says:

    Or, they blog at exactly the same rate (p-value=.1055). A classic over-interpretation of the available data.

    R Code:

    > table(c)
    a female male
    0 39 92
    1 0 8
    > fisher.test(table(c))

    Fisher’s Exact Test for Count Data

    data: table(c)
    p-value = 0.1055
    alternative hypothesis: true odds ratio is not equal to 1
    95 percent confidence interval:
    0.6830081 Inf
    sample estimates:
    odds ratio

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  8. PaulD says:

    I have always thought that women are much better at forcing themselves to do things they don’t really enjoy than men are. If that is true, then perhaps women are more likely to be good at economics without really liking it all that much, and consequently, when given the choice, opt out of a blog.

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