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Green Economics

Where are the female economics bloggers?

There are 52 women on the list of the top 1,000 economists. None of them blog.

By Matthew E. KahnGuest blogger / March 26, 2011

A woman types on her laptop computer in this photo illustration. Guest blogger Matthew Kahn asks, why don't more top female economist write blogs?

Photo illustration/Custom Medical Stock Photo/Newscom

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REPEC provides an objective measure of who is "Royalty" in the economics profession. The current list of the top 5% is here. I am ranked #681 out of 27,365 economists so that's not bad (and my 3 books aren't counted here). But, here is the interesting part. There are 52 women who rank in the top 1000 and 0 of them blog. Contrast that with the men. Consider the top 100 men. In this elite subset; at least 8 of them blog. Consider the men ranked between 101 and 200. At least, six of them blog. So, this isn't very scientific but we see a 7% participation rate for excellent male economists and a 0% participation rate for excellent women. This differential looks statistically significant to me. I have searched for Nancy Folbre among the top 1369 economists (the 5% cutoff) and she is not counted in the elite subset. [Editor's note: This paragraph and the secondary headline were changed to correct the number of top-ranked women economists.]

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How do you resolve this puzzle? 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.

Or would you argue that men are less mature than women and require immediate gratification and blog posts offer such ephemeral pleasure?

Is this a problem? It actually is in the following sense. The shrewd academic uses his blog to market his ideas and to "amplify" his new academic results. This is a type of branding. I am a like a mediocre washing powder that advertises on TV using jingles and this is good! You don't have to be as big a star as Tyler Cowen to leverage your blog into new opportunities. If women are not participating in this sector, then excellent women are losing certain opportunities that the blogger class takes for granted. In a linear algebra sense, we may also be losing out on important ideas that women would offer if they did blog. Perhaps, men do not know everything?

Solutions to this problem? That's your problem --- my job was to pose the riddle and answer the question.

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