Bagues, Manuel Sylos-Labini, Mauro Zinovyeva, Natalia
Year of Publication:
LEM Working Paper Series 2014/14
This papers studies how the presence of women in academic committees affects the chances of success of male and female candidates. We use evidence from Italy, where candidates to Full and Associate Professor positions are required to qualify in a nation-wide evaluation known as Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale. This evaluation was conducted between 2012 and 2014 in 184 academic disciplines and it attracted around 70,000 applications. In each field, committee members were selected from the pool of professors that had volunteered for the task using a random lottery. We estimate the causal effect of committees' gender composition on candidates' chances of success exploiting the existence of this system of random assignment. In a five-member committee, each additional female evaluator decreases by 2 percentage points the success rate of female candidates relative to male candidates. Information from 274,000 individual evaluation reports shows that, in mixed-gender committees, male and female evaluators are equally biased against female candidates, suggesting that the presence of women in the committee affects the voting behavior of male evaluators.