Arnold Kling  

The Summers Flap, Continued

Regulation and House Prices... Pragmatism, continued...

In this essay, I use the Lawrence Summers controversy as a jumping-off point for some idle speculation about gender differences in the world of academics and business.

My experience is that in male-dominated organizational groups...Guys tend to flatter the boss in the belief that this will help them build a useful relationship. They try to make their rivals look bad and try to make themselves look good. They disregard people who they think are not in a position to promote them or to compete with them.

...So to Lawrence Summers' list of possible reasons that women are under-represented in some fields, let me add annoying male-dominance behavior. To the extent that one must put up with or join in such behavior to succeed in largely-male fields, I could see where otherwise qualified women might not have the taste for it.

For more on the controversy, see Annie Gottlieb. Also, posts by Brad DeLong here, here, and here.

For Discussion. What empirical data is most relevant to the controversy raised by Summers?

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COMMENTS (2 to date)
Brad Hutchings writes:

We need a dynamic model that accounts for inflow and outflow of female and male professors in the sciences at Harvard. Find out why they joined. Find out why they leave. Find some function that fits each of the four things we're watching (in/F, out/F, in/M, out/M). You'd assume the inputs are professors from other schools and accomplished grad students. Look at their availability in the M and F columns. Compare to other schools. Perhaps Harvard is relying too much on prestige and too little on salary. Men like prestige, women like money. Everyone knows that :-).

Anyway, just turn it into a network flow problem so the theoretical computer science types can chime in. That's all I care about!

Lawrance George Lux writes:

I would first say concerning your own article, such individual men would have been fired in my line of Work (Construction), if they did not produce at levels expected.

The data most relevant states We have insufficient Graduates in Science and Engineering. Lack of funding for R&D is immaterial; the real problem remains producing trained Practicians. It does not matter if Women can do advanced R&D, which is the basic determination of Summers. lgl

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