[Link] Economists’ views differ by gender

Edit: ParagonProtege has pro­vided a link to the origi­nal study. Thank you! (^_^)


A new study shows a large gen­der gap on eco­nomic policy among the na­tion’s pro­fes­sional economists, a di­vide similar—and in some cases big­ger—than the gen­der di­vide found in the gen­eral pub­lic.

What does an economist think of that?

A lot de­pends on whether the economist is a man or a woman. A new study shows a large gen­der gap on eco­nomic policy among the na­tion’s pro­fes­sional economists, a di­vide similar—and in some cases big­ger—than the gen­der di­vide found in the gen­eral pub­lic.

Differ­ences ex­tend to core pro­fes­sional be­liefs—such as the effect of min­i­mum wage laws—not just mat­ters of poli­ti­cal opinion.

Fe­male economists tend to fa­vor a big­ger role for gov­ern­ment while male economists have greater faith in busi­ness and the mar­ket­place. Is the U.S. econ­omy ex­ces­sively reg­u­lated? Sixty-five per­cent of fe­male economists said “no” -- 24 per­centage points higher than male economists.

Can this be rea­son­ably ex­plained by self-in­ter­est? Fe­male and male economists’ views are prob­a­bly coloured by gen­der soli­dar­ity. Govern­ment jobs may be more like­able to women than men be­cause of their recorded greater risk aver­sion. Re­gard­less of the rea­son gov­ern­ment jobs are more im­por­tant for women than for men. Also in the US where the study was done mid­dle class white women benefit quit a bit from af­fir­ma­tive ac­tion in gov­ern­ment hiring.

“As a group, we are pro-mar­ket,” says Ann Mari May, co-au­thor of the study and a Univer­sity of Ne­braska economist. “But women are more likely to ac­cept gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tion and in­volve­ment in eco­nomic ac­tivity than our male col­leagues.”

Opinion differ­ences be­tween men and women are well-doc­u­mented in the gen­eral pub­lic. Pres­i­dent Obama leads Mitt Rom­ney by 10 per­centage points among women. Rom­ney leads Obama by 3 per­centage points among men, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est Gal­lup Poll.

Poli­tics is the mind-kil­ler prob­a­bly does play a role in ex­plain­ing the differ­ence.

The sur­vey of 400 economists is one of the first to ex­am­ine whether gen­der differ­ences mat­ter within a pro­fes­sion. The an­swer for economists: Yes.

How economists think:

  • Health in­surance. Fe­male economists thought em­ploy­ers should be re­quired to provide health in­surance for full-time work­ers: 40% in fa­vor to 37% against, with the rest offer­ing no opinion. By con­trast, men were strongly against the idea: 21% in fa­vor and 52% against.
  • Ed­u­ca­tion. Fe­males nar­rowly op­posed tax­payer-funded vouch­ers that par­ents could use for tu­ition at a pub­lic or pri­vate school of their choice. Male economists love the idea: 61% to 14%.

  • La­bor stan­dards. Fe­males be­lieve 48% to 33% that trade policy should be linked to la­bor stan­dards in for­eign coun­ties. Males dis­agreed: 60% to 23%.

First two points are some­what con­gru­ent with stereo­types. Any­one who has run into the fre­quent iSteve com­menter “Whiskey” will prob­a­bly note that the third point in­di­cates women may not hate hate HATE lower and mid­dle class beta males in this case.

“It’s very puz­zling,” says free-mar­ket economist Veronique de Rugy of the Mer­ca­tus Cen­ter at Ge­orge Ma­son Univer­sity in Fair­fax, Va. “Not a day goes by that I don’t ask my­self why there are so few women economists on the free-mar­ket side.”

A na­tive of France, de Rugy sup­ported gov­ern­ment in­ter­ven­tion early in her life but changed her mind af­ter study­ing eco­nomics. “We want many of the same things as liber­als—less poverty, more health care—but have rad­i­cally differ­ent ideas on how to achieve it.”

This seems plau­si­ble since poli­tics is about ap­plause lights af­ter all, the tribes are what mat­ters not the par­tic­u­lar shape of their at­tire. But might value differ­ences still be be­hind the gen­der differ­ence? Maybe some failed utopias I re­call read­ing aren’t re­ally failed.

Liberal economist Dean Baker, co-founder of the Cen­ter for Eco­nomic Policy and Re­search, says male economists have been on the in­side of the pro­fes­sion, con­firm­ing each other’s anti-reg­u­la­tion views. Women, as out­siders, “are more likely to think in­de­pen­dently or at least see peo­ple out­side of the eco­nomics pro­fes­sion as form­ing their peer group,” he says.

The gen­der bal­ance in eco­nomics is chang­ing. One-third of eco­nomics doc­torates now go to women. The chair of the White House Coun­cil of Eco­nomic Ad­visers has been a woman three of 27 times since 1946 -- one ad­vis­ing Obama and two ad­vis­ing Bill Clin­ton. The Fed­eral Re­serve Board of Gover­nors has three women, bring­ing the to­tal to eight of 90 mem­bers since 1914.

“More di­ver­sity is needed at the table when pub­lic policy is dis­cussed,” May says.

Some­how I think this does not in­clude ide­olog­i­cal di­ver­sity.

Economists do agree on some things. Fe­male economists agree with men that Europe has too much reg­u­la­tion and that Wal­mart is good for so­ciety. Male economists agree with their fe­male col­leagues that mil­i­tary spend­ing is too high.

The gen­ders are most di­vorced from each other on the ques­tion of equal­ity for women. Male economists over­whelm­ingly think the wage gap be­tween men and women is largely the re­sult of in­di­vi­d­u­als’ skills, ex­pe­rience and vol­un­tary choices. Fe­male economists over­whelm­ingly dis­agree by a mar­gin of 4-to-1.

The biggest dis­agree­ment: 76% of women say fac­ulty op­por­tu­ni­ties in eco­nomics fa­vor men. Male economists point the op­po­site way: 80% say women are fa­vored or the pro­cess is neu­tral.

No mys­tery here. (^_^)