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Collaboration and Female Representation in Academic Fields

Quarterly Review 3911 | Published September 1, 2019

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Benjamin A. Malin Vice President, Research
Collaboration and Female Representation in Academic Fields


Women are well represented in some academic fields but notably underrepresented in others, including many STEM fields. Motivated by studies that show collaboration is more attractive to women than men, we investigate whether female participation across academic fields is related to how collaborative those fields are. Using panel data for 30 academic fields from 1975 to 2014, we find that one additional author on the average paper published in a field is associated with an increase of 2.5 percentage points in the female share of PhD recipients. This estimate implies that about 30 percent of the observed rise in female share during our sample period can be attributed to increased collaboration.