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Does gender matter for academic promotion? Evidence from a randomized natural experiment

Natalia Zinovyeva 1, Manuel Bagues2
1Foundation for Applied Economic Research (FEDEA), Spain, 2University Carlos III, Spain

This paper analyzes whether academic promotions are affected by the gender of evaluators and candidates. The identifcation strategy exploits the random assignment mechanism that was used in Spain between 2002 and 2006 in order to select the members of promotion committees. Results are mixed. In competitions to associate professor positions, female applicants are signifiantly less likely to be promoted when they are assigned to a committee with a relatively larger share of female evaluators. On the contrary, in competitions to full professor positions the opposite is true. Information from publications data suggests that female candidates are discriminated by female evaluators when they apply to associate professor positions and by male evaluators when they apply to full professor positions. The evidence indicates that the source of these biases is preference-based.

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