Academic Studies

Representation and Recognition: Gender and Academia

Representation and Recognition: Diversity in Economics and Finance

Supportive Environments and Behavioral Restrictions

Hiring, Promotion, and Retention

Pandemic Effects: Vulnerabilities Revealed in Higher Education

Pandemic Effects: Global Perspectives

Pandemic Impact


Featured Research

Featured Research

  • Based on a survey of AFA members, Barber, Jiang, Morse, Puri, Tookes and Werner (2021) analyze how demographics, time allocation, production mechanisms, and institutional factors affect research production during the pandemic. Consistent with the literature, research productivity falls more for women and faculty with young children. Independently, and novel, extra time spent teaching (much more likely for women) negatively affects research productivity. Also novel, concerns about feedback, isolation, and health have large negative research effects, which disproportionately affect junior faculty and PhD students. Finally, faculty who express greater concerns about employers’ finances report larger negative research effects and more concerns about feedback, isolation, and health.
  • Related to these findings, check out this fascinating way to show biased perception (and sometimes a chosen style due to the perception) sorted by gender in Student Teaching Evaluations.  Try for example: smart; brilliant; knowledgeable; leader; strict; understanding; nice; warm; funny.

Representation and Recognition

Gender and Academia

  • Mansour et al. (2020): The authors examine the effects of professor gender on the post-graduation outcomes for female students, finding that those learning under a female professor substantially increases the probability of them pursuing a STEM occupation and receiving a STEM master’s degree.
  • McChesney and Bischel (2020): The authors discuss the demographics of aging of tenure-track faculty: while younger faculty cohorts have more gender and ethno-racial diversity and higher education institutions can take advantage of faculty retirements to hire more diverse faculty, they encourage institutions to still focus on retention and promotion of existing underrepresented junior faculty.
  • Lerchenmueller et al. (2019): The authors argue that productivity differences cannot account for gender disparities in academia. Instead, they explain that women academics receive less recognition than men for equivalent accomplishments and stress the importance of self-promotion and positively (while accurately) framing the quality and importance of their research findings.
  • Li and Koedel (2017): From 2015-16 faculty representation and wage gap data in selective public universities, the authors confirm trends of Black, Hispanic, and female professors being underrepresented while White and Asian professors remain overrepresented. Underrepresentation in the disadvantaged minority and female demographic is attributed primarily to science and math intensive fields. The potential for greater diversity in STEM fields appears as junior faculty are better balanced in diversity, but Black faculty are an exception (there are not more junior Black faculty members than their senior counterparts). Furthermore, their analysis also does not find a wage premium for faculty who contribute to their workplace’s diversity, despite universities displaying an explicit valuation of this.
  • Zoogah and Josephs (2017) : Under-representation of minority faculty is often explained by the academic pipeline or racial discrimination arguments. The authors posit a third argument combining institutional, stakeholder, and resource dependence theories, that institutional factors and pressures affect universities’ responsiveness to faculty diversity. Their findings encourage university administrators interested in increasing faculty diversity to critically examine the characteristics of their universities.
  • Bagues, Sylos-Labini, and Zinovyeva (2015):  Their study on gender composition of scientific evaluation committees in Italy and Spain finds that a larger presence of female evaluators does not increase the quantity or quality of female candidates who qualify. Moreover, gender-mixed committees tend to be less favorable toward female candidates than all-male committees.
  • Casadevall (2015): The author discusses how American Society for Microbiology’s General Meeting achieved 48.5% of oral presentations given by women and the mechanisms that improve female speaker participation to demonstrate that it is possible to increase this in a relatively short time with concrete steps.
  • Deo (2015): The author presents findings from an empirical study of the law faculty experience to provide additional support for affirmative action through educational diversity.
  • Meyer et al. (2015) : The authors provide evidence for the field-specific ability beliefs (FAB) hypothesis, wherein women are likely to be less represented in fields perceived to require raw intellect and talent, and find that college education further entrenches participants’ FABs. As such, their research asks college instructors to avoid compliments that express one’s inherent traits (“genius,” “brilliant”) and instead uplift what they have achieved and explicitly reward dedication and effort.
  • Ceci et al. (2014): Despite gender parity achieved for bachelor degrees, gender differences in academic representation persist across academic fields, graduate programs, and professorship. In particular, women have been underrepresented in mathematically intensive academic careers, attributed to inequalities prior to their doctorates. Ceci and authors argue that since historical barriers of gender discrimination are no longer the primary cause, female PhD applicants in their careers perform at least as well as their male counterparts. Still, pre-college factors and the subsequent likelihood of majoring in these fields continue to bar women from full participation in mathematically intensive scientific fields.

Diversity in Economics and Finance

  • Dupas et al. (2021): To begin to understand seminar culture across economics fields, Dupas and coauthors find from examining hundreds of seminars and conferences that women are treated distinctly from male presenters. Namely, that these women received more questions and these questions were more likely to be patronizing or hostile, underscoring the implicit bias present in relatively less structured academic presentations.
  • Gamage et al. (2020): They study women in UK academic economics departments, finding that similar to the US, UK women in economics are underrepresented and paid less than men. While these women face similar barriers, these issues have received less national policy attention in the UK. Still, there is evidence that a UK academic diversity programme (Athena Swan) has narrowed the gender pay gap at senior levels.
  • Önder and Yilmazkuday (2020): The authors outline trends in journal publications of graduates of North American economics PhD programs between 1980 and 2014. While all-female and mixed-gender author teams publish significantly less than all-male author teams between 1980 and 1990, they find no significant difference after 2000. In addition, male authors are overrepresented in microeconomics and macroeconomics, while female authors are overrepresented in labor and development economics.
  • Sherman and Tookes (2020): The authors present new data on female representation in the academic finance profession. Among the top-100 U.S. business schools during 2009–2017, only 16.0% are women.
  • Beneito et al. (2019): The authors provide explanations as to why women are relatively less attracted to economics than men. They find that macroeconomics and finance show the greatest scarcity of women, and generally, economics majors hold a macroeconomics-biased view of the economics profession, exhibit gender differences in their perceptions of interest and difficulty in distinct subfields, and their interest and performance in economic subfields are influenced differently by their male and female peers in macro versus microeconomics.
  • Boustan and Langan (2019): They study graduate programs in economics to understand the variation of women’s success across departments in STEM. They observe a wide variation in the average share of women in the graduating classes of economics PhD programs across universities. Furthermore, they show that departments with a greater share of women in their faculty have more women in their student body. While men and women who graduate from the same program do not show different propensities in being offered a faculty position or promotion, in the case of economics departments, men land placements at higher-ranked departments and publish more in top journals than women. Looking at 22 graduate programs, they find that women graduating from departments with relatively better outcomes have 9% higher placement rates than men, while women from departments producing relatively worse outcomes have 8% lower placement rates than men. Through interviews with female economics graduate students, they confirm that women on the faculty inspire women in the student body to succeed.
  • Chari and Goldsmith-Pinkham (2018): They document the representation of female economists in conference programming at the NBER Summer Institute from 2001-2018. From 2016-2018, women compose 21% of all authors on scheduled papers. They advise programs interested in increasing female representation to encourage a larger share of female submissions. In addition, they find stark differences across economic subfields in female representation (less authorship in finance and macro and international economics, more in labor and public economics).
  • Bransch and Kvasnicka (2017): The authors analyze publication data from economic journals between 1991-2010, finding that female editors reduce the share of articles (co-)authored by women. While female editors benefit article quality for editorial boards with low levels of representation, they harm it in ones with higher levels.
  • Buttner et al. (2017) : The authors focus on minority business faculty underrepresentation and its causes. Their analysis shows that leader racial awareness, perceived importance of cultural change, and recruitment and feedback efforts predict minority faculty representation.
  • Emerson et al. (2017):  The authors observe the role model effect of women faculty on undergraduate economics majors. While they find no evidence that female faculty attract female students. However, they do find that  business and liberal arts colleges with two semesters versus one semester of calculus required for economics majors deters women from majoring in economics at PhD granting universities.
  • Hengel (2017): The author applies readability scores to female economist’s writing, finding that female-authored papers are 1-6% better written than equivalent papers by men, and that their writing gradually improves while their male counterparts’ do not. Assuming tougher or more biased editorial standards, she further estimates that senior female economists write at least 9% more clearly than they otherwise would, effectively burdening female economists with an added time tax and hampering productivity. Moreover, female-authored papers are found to spend six months longer in peer review.
  • Kahn and Ginther (2017): The authors summarize research on the underrepresentation of women in math-intensive STEM fields, through childhood to higher education and into the labor market.
  • Sarsons (2017): The study examines academic economists CV’s, finding that women are less likely to receive tenure the more they coauthor (as opposed to men and solo-authoring). Comparing economics with sociology papers (coauthors are listed in order of contribution), Sarson observes that men and women receive equal credit for coauthored papers.
  • Zacchia (2017): Through the lens of female Italian economists, the author discusses how gender diversity can enrich economic analyses. Among them, she finds a sharper decrease in women researches in non-mainstream economic fields, particularly heterodox approaches and the history of economic thought. She points out the importance of accounting for how diversity can support plurality in research and in researchers’ career paths to preserve and increase gender diversity in economics publications.
  • Bayer and Rouse (2016) : The authors present data on the number of women and underrepresented minority groups in economics and argue that implicit attitudes and institutional practice contribute to such underrepresentation at all stages of the pipeline. Furthermore, they outline the ways in which diversity in the profession can produce higher quality research.
  • Ginther et al. (2016): Employing existing literature, the authors specifically examine gender parity in the economics profession, where women’s progress stagnated. While they conclude from empirical evidence that there is no bias against women in academic hiring, they note that women publish fewer papers once in tenure-stream academic positions, partially because they are more likely to be employed at teaching-intensive institutions. They also highlight the importance of interventions to address gender differences in academic careers, citing the CeMENT mentoring workshops for junior economics faculty at research institutions as a success, subsequently implemented in other countries.
  • Lightbody et al.  (2013):  The authors review twenty years of U.S. accounting doctoral graduates, finding while controlling for the quality of their alma maters, that minority women (African, Hispanic, and Native American) are doubly disadvantaged in initial placements and placements further along in their careers (having lower ranked placements).
  • Hamermesh (2012):  The author analyzes patterns of co-authorship on full-length articles published in economics journals (AER, JPE, QJE) from the 1960s through the 2010s, finding that the fraction of older authors has quadrupled, and predicting that co-authorship should increase.
  • Krause et al. (2012): Analyzing anonymous job applications of Ph.D. economists, the authors determine that anonymity is not associated with a different invitation probability between female and male applicants (female applications have a higher probability of an invitation than male in standard applications). Still, their results support the reasoning for this practice: to prevent employers from favoring non-minority applicants in the initial stage of hiring.
  • Ferber and Brün (2011): The authors find that because of the increasing representation of women in economics, the disadvantage women economists face in a male-dominated field has reduced.
  • Forget (2011): The author outlines the history of American women economists during the 20th century.

Supportive Environments and Behavioral Restrictions

  • Melaku and Beeman (2020): The authors discuss their experiences and relevant research as scholars of color at a white academic institution, introducing concepts like “invisible labor,” the “inclusion tax,” and emphasizing a behavior and mindset change in white colleagues to internalize the racial and social justice affirmation statements issued by their academic departments.
  • Dutton et al. (2018): The authors present results of a diversity mentoring program at a law school. This intervention has proven to be effective, with participants reporting growing their network of mentors, receiving significant advice on research and tenure, and being sponsored for new opportunities as a result.
  • Fernando and Prasad (2018): The authors look at early- and mid-career female academics in business schools, finding that organizational silence, “reluctant acquiescence,” is the product of third-party actors (line managers, HR, colleagues) who persuade victims of sex-based harassment and workplace mistreatment to not voice their complaints.
  • Huopalainen and Satama (2018): The authors discuss maternal experiences for early-career academic mothers. They show that motherhood is not entirely negative for their academic careers – academic mothers who are white, heterosexual, and middle class, find simultaneous satisfaction with their motherhood and their career.
  • MacDonald (2018): In The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture the author discusses the impact of believing in America’s endemic racism and sexism, and how American academia has metastasized diversity bureaucracy.
  • Desivilya et al. (2017): The authors compile interviews by 20 diverse faculty members in a Northern Israeli college, finding implicit power dynamics that constrict the legitimacy of minority faculty to voice critical opinions and limit their actions.
  • Wu (2017): The author provides evidence of gender stereotyping by academics in their discussions of economists in the anonymous Economics Job Market Rumors forum.
  • Deo (2015): The author reports findings from the Diversity in Legal Academia project, an empirical intersectional examination of the law faculty experience. The article focuses on the intersection between race and gender, demonstrating the unique challenges that women of color law faculty face to stress the importance of strengthening diversity in legal education.
  • Juarez (2015): The author writes on the experiences of academic librarians of color. The paper furthers the dialogue about diversity by focusing on what is not being discussed and how we can broaden the conversation.
  • Lusher et al. (2015): The author investigate how academic outcomes of undergraduate students are affected by the race or ethnicity of their graduate student teaching assistants. Their results show a positive and significant increase in course grades for students who are assigned TAs with a similar race or ethnicity.
  • Tweedy (2015): Given that bisexuals constitute the largest group in the LGBT+ community, Tweedy discusses her experiences as a bisexual law faculty candidate and how negative views on bisexuality affected her job search.
  • Joecks et al. (2014): The authors descriptively find that female business and economics researchers with children (in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland) are more productive than those without children, noting positive incentive and positive self-selection effects.
  • Testy (2014): The author writes on gender performativity and pressure in being a dean, and how social penalties strongly affect gay and lesbian educators and higher education administrators.
  • Gonzalez and Harris (2012): They provide an introduction to Presumed Incompetent, an account of intersectionality in academia through personal narratives and empirical studies by women faculty of color.
  • Harter et al. (2011): The authors analyze survey data collected from US academic economists on their work time allocations, finding that while departmental and school incentives provided a premium for research, they still spent more time on teaching. They also find that faculty members’ gender and rank were significant predictors on how they allocate their time (male economists spending less on teaching and more on research than female economists).
  • Blau et al. (2010): The authors evaluate the AEA’s CeMENT mentoring workshop, finding that relative to women who did not participate, those who did are more likely to stay in academia and more likely to have received tenure in a top 30-50 economics institution.
  • Spade (2010): The author describes his experience becoming and being a trans law professor, as well as broader questions on activism, privilege in academia, and professionalism.
  • Carrell et al. (2009): The authors find that professor gender has a powerful effect on female students’ performance in math and science classes and their continued interest in the subjects. Their results indicate that the gender gap in for STEM majors and their performance in courses is mitigated when introductory classes are taught by female professors.
  • Dedoussis (2007): Theauthor discusses the challenges that “third-country” faculty face, such as culture-shock, role conflict, and unmet expectations. Given the reality of “transnational universities” through online learning, offshore campuses, and franchising or acquisition agreements with local partners and institutions, Dedoussis recommends universities to attract and retain quality international faculty irrespective of nationality and other individual differences.

Hiring, Promotion, and Retention

  • Kim and Moser (2021): They examine how children affect scientific output, promotions, and gender inequality in science. They find that mothers who are academics’ productivity peaks in their early 40s, relatively long after other scientists’ have started to decline. Differences in the timing of productivity have important implications for tenure – as 27% of mothers who are academics’ achieve tenure, compared with 48% of fathers and 46% of other women. As such, mothers who survive in science are extremely positively selected.
  • Card et al. (2019) : The authors study the role of gender in the evaluation of economic research using submissions to four leading journals. The results show that referee gender has no effect on the relative assessment of female vs. male authored papers, suggesting that any differential biases of male referees are negligible. Moreover, they find that female authored papers receive about 25% more citations than observably similar male authored papers.
  • Jones et al. (2019): The authors discuss University of New Hampshire’s program to increase the number, retention, and success of women faculty in STEM disciplines. This project is aimed to serve as a model for other institutions who identify comparable challenges in hiring, promoting, and, in general, advancing women STEM faculty.
  • Lundberg and Stearns (2019): They generally discuss women’s representation among economics students and faculty from the 1970s onward, asserting that women’s stalled progress in economics is the result of discrimination and biased assessment. This demands continued action to remove these barriers, on the basis of simple fairness and to benefit from creating an environment wherein equal work yields equal rewards.
  • Taylor et al. (2019): Looking at schools of public affairs, in which many economists are hired who are disproportionately female and salaries are lower than those in mainline departments in economics, Taylor and coauthors find substantial pay differences based on departmental affiliations, significant differences in citation records between male and female faculty in schools of public affairs, and no evidence that the public affairs discount could be explained by compositional differences with respect to gender, experience or scholarly citations.
  • Antecol et al. (2018): Examining the benefits of tenure clock stopping policies, Antecol and coauthors find that their adoption substantially reduced female tenure rates while substantially increasing male tenure rates, but do not reduce the probability that either men or women eventually earn tenure in their academic professions.
  • Mengel et al. (2018): The authors provide new evidence of gender bias in teaching evaluations. Examining a dataset of almost 20,000 student evaluations, they find that neither students’ grades nor self-study hours are affected by the instructor’s gender, and women receive systematically lower teaching evaluations than their male colleagues. 
  • Conley et al. (2016): Using publication data of 9,368 economics PhD graduates between 1987 and 1996, Conley and coauthors compare research productivities of male and female graduates and how these correlate with macroeconomic conditions. They find that the availability of academic jobs is positively correlated with research productivity for both male and female graduates. Furthermore, unfavorable employment conditions prior to starting graduate education are negatively correlated with female graduates’ research productivity and positively correlated with male graduates’ research productivity.
  • Cawley et al. (2015): The authors presents summary statistics of health economist earnings. Their results show that the academic salaries of health economists have risen since 2015, there is no statistically significant evidence of disparities in academic salaries between men and women, or between whites and nonwhites, and there is a salary premium associated with earning a PhD at one of the top economics departments.
  • Takashi and Takashi (2015): The authors study gender promotion differences in economics departments Japan, and find that the length of time from initial appointment to associate professor is greater for women than men, from associate to full professor, childless women are promoted faster than childless men, and this “reverse gender promotion gap” disappears for married academics.
  • Bagues et al. (2014): With evidence from Italy, Bagues and coauthors analyze whether the presence of women in academic committees benefits female candidates. They find that each additional female evaluator decreases the success rate of female candidates by 2%, and as such, their results cast doubts on the convenience of introducing gender quotas in academia.
  • Bosquet et al. (2013): They analyze the promotion system (national contests) for French academic economists, finding a lower likelihood of women to enter the contests and lower promotion rates for women. As such, they reject the assumption that female economists underperform in these contests.
  • Manchester et al. (2013): They evaluate the consequences of using stop the clock policies for the career success of tenure track faculty. They find that faculty members who stop their clock for family reasons incur a salary penalty compared to those who do not, which cannot be explained by differences in productivity. At the same time, those who use the policy have relatively higher promotion rates than those who do not.
  • McPherson et al. (2013): The authors study the publication records of nearly 2000 academic economists. Their analysis show that the quality of faculty members’ publications decreases with program ranking, and the quantity of publications does not differ much among top-100 programmes. Those who are promoted to professor generate fewer top-ten and total articles, and at many programmes, female academic economists produce fewer top-ten and total journal articles than their male counterparts.
  • Chen et al. (2012): The authors analyze data from the 2007-8 Ph.D. economist job market, finding gender differences in job placement in terms of job location, type, and rank. As such, relative to male candidates, female candidates are less likely to be placed into academic jobs than into the government or private sector.
  • Kahn (2012): The author finds gender differences in faculty promotion and mobility at the University of New South Wales–female lecturers were less likely than men to be promoted and female associate professors were more likely to be promoted. Furthermore, maternity leave indicated a higher likelihood of staying at UNSW and being promoted.
  • Manchester and Barbezat (2012): Using a sample of early career faculty members who received their Ph.D. in economics, Manchester and Barbezat identify the opportunity cost of non-research duties on research output. They also consider how research time is distributed during the academic year relative to summer months. They find that time concentration is a significant predictor of submissions and see gender differences, which are attributable to gender differences in employment and ongoing childcare responsibilities.
  • Misra et al. (2011): The authors survey faculty members at a research-intensive university, finding substantial differences in compensation by gender when professors and associate professors took on major service roles.
  • Takahashi and Takahashi (2011): The authors study the gender salary gap within economics departments in Japan, finding a 7% gender salary gap that is concentrated in public and research oriented universities, with no evidence of it reducing over time. They also reject the hypothesis that female academics’ choice between household work and market activities is responsible for the gender salary gap.
  • Manchester et al. (2010): The authors give one of the first empirical analyses of the relationship between faculty members’ use of “stop the clock” policies and career rewards (promotion and pay). They find that stop the clock policies are not significantly related to their probability of a promotion to a tenured position, and their usage constrains pay for both male and female faculty.

Pandemic Effects

Vulnerabilities Revealed in Higher Education

  • Furstenberg  (2020): The past few months have revealed that college and universities had been dangerously ill-equipped to confront the pandemic’s challenges. François Furstenberg of John Hopkins credits the acute vulnerabilities of his university, such as freezing employee retirement contributions to alleviate its solvency crisis, to its senior leadership and executives. He observes that large research universities in particular “function like multinational corporations,” and while scholars at Johns Hopkins have been prepared for public health emergencies for nearly 20 years, these plans did not anticipate the added impact of the university’s lack of financial preparedness.
  • Johnson, Veletsianos, and Seaman (2020): The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly upended modern life and tested the infrastructure of higher education globally, turning back the clock on years of faculty diversity goals and pushing professors and administrators to their productive limits.  The Chronicle of Higher Education (2020), (2020) compiles a series of more responses from college staff members, professors, and administrators on how they think the pandemic will change the way higher education works. A study by Johnson, Veletsianos, and Seaman also surveys faculty and administrators from 672 U.S. institutions, in which they identify a need for assistance related to student support, greater access to online digital materials, and guidance for working from home to ensure sustainability of remote teaching. Overall, while the weaknesses of higher education are becoming increasingly exposed, they highlight the potential for positive change to recreate more resilient and stable institutions for the future.
  • Kezar  (2020): Adrianna Kezar of USCcalls the current economic state of higher education a “gig academy,” anticipating trends of increased adjunctification, increased entrepreneurship to support salaries, cuts that offload expenses to employees, and automation and technology to deliver the academic experience. She warns that these trends will lead to the lowering of faculty and staff morale, a decline in academic freedom and shared governance, reduced student success and learning, and the destruction of the campus community.
  • Kirschenbaum (2020): Challenges are experienced by educational institutions worldwide, but the failure of some American colleges and universities to adjust demonstrates an extension of failures from accumulated roadblocks in sustaining higher education in the U.S. and a lack of public health guidance from government officials. Matthew Kirschenbaum of University of Maryland at College Park charges federal leadership with higher education’s failed state – acting increasingly like businesses and risking lives for the sake of the consumer. Kirschenbaum recognizes the substantial responsibility placed on faculty members to uphold the quality of their institutions, while the institutions’ issues reflect a governmental and societal failure.
  • Kramnick (2020): Along the same line, Jonathan Kramnick of Yale warns that the job market for humanities Ph.D.s has shifted from a crisis to a catastrophe, imploring faculty to lobby their institutions to hire junior faculty into tenure-track lines, commit to hiring those who haven’t yet found tenure-track positions, lobby administrations to find teaching for students and major granting agencies to create postdocs, consider how to best reduce graduate-program sizes, and design strategies for off-ramping.
  • Perry  (2020): Another major concern from Andre Perry of Davenport University is a “major exodus of experienced teachers” after the pandemic, recalling this phenomenon occurring after Hurricane Katrina.

Global Perspectives

  • Besser, Lotem, and Zeigler-Hill (2020): In Israeli colleges, a study finds professors experiencing higher levels of psychological stress associated with elevated levels of vocal symptoms due to the transition to online synchronous teaching.
  • Bhagat and Kim (2020):  Bhagat and Kim in the Information Systems Management Journal observe ways the pandemic has affected higher education on a global scale, offering brief guidelines on how it can adapt to the disruptions.
  • Das, Bhuyan, and Sultana (2020): Similarly, a survey in India among primary, secondary, and tertiary teachers, students, and parents finds most respondents supporting the adoption of a blending mode of online learning post-pandemic, despite poor internet connectivity, overburdening, and stressful experiences that have exacerbated their educational process.
  • El Masri and Sabzalieva (2020): In Canada, El Masri and Sabzalieva  identify a lack of higher education support from the Ontario government during the initial months of the pandemic, which was uncoordinated and largely dispersed with a primary focus on research initiatives, and latterly, student support.
  • Marginson (2020): Simon Marginson of University of Oxford pinpoints high individualization and low social responsibility in the U.K. and U.S. as factors of the pandemic that undermine academic institutions in their marketized systems, all at the expense of risking the health of students and staff.
  • Moralista and Oducado (2020): A survey conducted among faculty in a State College in the Philippines finds that while the faculty in aggregate were undecided if they are in favor of online education, older faculty tended to be more in favor of it.
  • Pham and Ho (2020): Researchers in Vietnam appreciate the merits of e-learning and advocate for its adoption in a post-pandemic environment.
  • Yang (2020): Though China has been particularly associated with the pandemic as the likely origin of the virus, Rui Yang of the University of Hong Kong highlights Chinese universities’ swift and effective response to disruptions as an example for the international community to learn from.
  • Zeeshan, Chaudhry, and Khan (2020): A study on Pakistani universities highlights the importance of reducing techno-stress for faculty, citing a need to identify strategies that protect their emotional and mental wellbeing
  • Czerniewicz et al.  (2020): While hiring freezes and university process slowdowns can offer hiring committees and academics a break from their competitive and often toxic work environments, it is crucial to continue rejecting the normalization of cheaper and more efficient higher education options at the expense of vulnerable and underrepresented faculty and administrators. Collective reflections from South African academics and higher education scholars in Postdigital Science and Education consider forms of inequality – vital, resource, and existential – forced into urgent consideration by the pandemic.

Pandemic Impact on Career Development and Research Productivity of University Faculty and Academic Researchers

  • Amano-Patiño (2020), Sugimoto et al. (2019): Finally, Sugimoto and coauthors warn that an unbalanced composition of the scientific workforce to the populations studied may alter the emphasis on aspects of the virus in the research. Noriko Amano-Patiño, an economist at the University of Cambridge also found that while women have consistently authored about 20% of working papers since 2015, they make up only 12% of the authors of new COVID-19 related research. Seeing that more senior economists are studying this, Amano-Patiño suspects that early- and mid-career researchers, especially women, could be risk-averse and less likely to enter a new field of research.
  • Andersen et al. (2020), Sugimoto et al.  (2020): Expanding from Frederickson’s research, Cassidy Sugimoto, an information scientist at Indiana University Bloomington additionally analyzes registered reports that indicate the initiation of new research projects. Her team of researchers observes lower rates of submissions from women for March to April 2020, compared with both January and February 2020, as well as the same months of 2019, especially in EarthArXiv, medRxiv, SocArXiv, and NBER. Their temporal examination also shows a large dip in female authorship of COVID-19 research (medRxiv) during March to April 2020 and female first authors contributing less to COVID-19 studies than research in other areas, despite its intensified need for fast-paced dissemination. Moreover, their data shows that women in first-author positions appear to have experienced a larger reduction than their last-author counterpart. This suggests that early career researchers are disproportionately affected by the effects of the pandemic, which could have negative consequences for their career development.
  • Cui, Ding, and Zhu (2020): Similarly, a working paper by Cui, Ding, and Zhu on the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on social science researchers, finds in their data of SSRN that while total research productivity increased by 35% 10 weeks after the lockdown in the U.S., female researchers’ productivity dropped by 13.9%  relative to that of male researchers. Furthermore, their data shows the productivity gap more pronounced for academics in top-ranked universities; in Criminal, Economics, Finance, Political Science, and Sustainability disciplines; and in Japan, China, Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
  • Frederickson (2020): Frederickson, an ecologist at the University of Toronto Canada quantifies this hypothesis by observing arXiv and bioRxiv (physical-sciences and life sciences) preprint repositories during April 2020 compared to 2019, finding women’s publishing rate falling relative to men’s.
  • Jones et al.  (2020):  The article in the Pepperdine Law Review, argues that colleges and universities have substantial legal obligations in allowing faculty to opt for online, rather than in-person teaching during the pandemic.
  • King (2020): The author, a sociologist at Santa Clara University in California, observes that because female faculty on average shoulder more teaching responsibilities, the sudden shift to online teaching disproportionately affects them. She also adds that non-research university commitments, such as hiring and curriculum committees, are dominated by senior faculty members (most of whom are men), granting them more time to write while women experience the opposite.
  • Levitt et al. (2020): KFF analysis of the 2018 National Health Interview Survey shows nearly 1.5M teachers, or one in four, at greater risk of serious illness if affected with COVID.
  • Malisch et al. (2020): A group of 17 scholars in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences warn that during times of stress such as the pandemic, biased decision-making processes threaten to deprioritize equity initiatives and disrupt professional development for women and ethnic minority professors. The authors focus on the widening equity gap in research for women due to changes in faculty productivity. Addressing this, they caution against the popular pandemic accommodation of tenure-clock stoppages, arguing that they can decrease the long term earning potential for scholars, put them out of sync with time-restricted funding mechanisms, and delay the power that comes with tenure that could allow them to apply to large research center grants.
  • Minello (2020): Minello, a social demographer and mother of a toddler, observes that as certain faculty and researchers are facing a reorganization of family care and work time, their changes in productivity will have long-term effects on their academic careers. Noting how the pandemic experience is changing research – in new mechanisms of accelerated peer review, the increased quantity and speed of available data, and the distribution of funding across sectors – Minello stresses the need to avoid exacerbating gender inequality under the assumption that in heterosexual couples, women do most of the care and household work.
  • Nash and Churchill (2020): A gendered analysis of 41 Australian universities’ responses to managing remote working and caring responsibilities finds that the Australian higher education sector has evaded their responsibility to ensure women academics’ full participation in the labor force, considering decisions made about caring leave as private matters, in which employees should design their own solutions.
  • Rogel-Salazar (2020): In addition to increased childcare responsibility, Rosario Rogel-Salazar, a sociologist at the Autonomous University of Mexico State in Toluca, says that women are more likely to take care of ailing relatives.
  • Woolston (2020): The article in Nature outlines how the pandemic poses disproportional existential threats to the careers of underrepresented researchers, including women, people from minority ethnic backgrounds, and those who are financially disadvantaged. The article notes concerns over junior scientists, the under-prioritization of diversity in hiring and promotion, the loss of funding and interruption of job searches for STEM researchers, and international researchers’ difficulty in finishing their research after returning to their home countries.
  • Woolston (2020): Another article in Nature discusses a survey that reveals an increase in graduate students’ mental-health struggles – signs of depression and anxiety – during the pandemic and offers recommendations on how to support them.
  • Schiebinger, Henderson, and Gilmartin (2008): Their results are consistent with literature on the division of childcare between men and women – that male academics are more likely to have a partner who does not work outside of home, while their female colleagues are more likely to have a partner who is also an academic.


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