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National survey of economists uncovers vast gender gap in policy views
Date:9/4/2012

Is there a "gender gap" in the views of professional economists? A new national study finds that while most economists agree on core economic concepts, values and methods, they differ along gender lines in their views on important economic policy.

The study believed to be the first systematic analysis of male and female economists' views on a wide variety of policy issues surveyed hundreds of members of the American Economic Association. The research team found that despite having similar training and adherence to core economic principles and methodology, male and female economists hold different opinions on particular current economic issues and specific economic policies including educational vouchers, health insurance and policies toward labor standards.

Women economists in the study, for example, are less likely to favor limiting government-backed redistribution policies than men. They also view gender inequality as a U.S. labor market problem more than their male counterparts do, and are more likely to favor government intervention over market solutions than men.

Meanwhile, the average male economist sees government regulation as more excessive, exhibits greater support for reducing tariffs, and is more opposed to mandating that employers provide their employees health insurance.

"We wanted to learn if it would make any difference if men or women were at the table when economic policies were debated and alternatives considered," said Ann Mari May, professor of economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Business Administration and the study's lead author. "These results suggest that the answer to that question is a clear and definitive yes."

The research also found very different interpretations of the status of job opportunity for men and women, both in economics academia and in the broader job market. Male economists, on average, said that opportunities are relatively equal between the gende
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Contact: Ann Mari May
amay1@unl.edu
402-472-3369
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Source:Eurekalert

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