Gender Differences in Salary and Promotion for Faculty in the Humanities, 1977-95

Donna K. Ginther and Kathy J. Hayes
Working Paper 2001-7
April 2001

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This study uses data from the Survey of Doctorate Recipients to evaluate gender differences in salaries and promotion for academics in the humanities. Differences in employment outcomes by gender are evaluated using three methods: the Oaxaca decomposition is used to examine salary differentials, and binary choice models and duration analysis are used to estimate the probability of promotion to tenure. Over time, gender salary differences can largely be explained by academic rank. Substantial gender differences in promotion to tenure exist after controlling for productivity and demographic characteristics. However, the authors observe a slight decline in the gender promotion gap for the most recent cohort evaluated. On the basis of this evidence, the authors conclude that gender discrimination for academics in the humanities tends to operate through differences in promotion, which in turn affects wages.

JEL classification: J4, J71

Key words: academic labor markets, gender discrimination, salary, promotion

The authors thank the National Science Foundation (NSF) for granting a site license to use the data and Kelly Kang of the NSF for providing technical documentation. They also thank Robert Pollak, Barton Hamilton, Kenneth Troske, Peter Mueser, John Pencavel, Paula Stephan, and Finis Welch. Seminar participants at the Southern Economic Association Meetings, the University of Missouri-Columbia, the American Economic Association Annual Meetings, the NBER Higher Education Conference, and the EALE/SOLE World Conference provided valuable comments on the paper. Sherry Okun assisted with constructing the tables in this paper. The views expressed here are the authors’ and not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta or the Federal Reserve System. Any remaining errors are the authors’ responsibility.

Please address questions regarding content to Donna K. Ginther, Research Department, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, 104 Marietta Street, N.W., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-2713, 404-498-7009, or Kathy J. Hayes, Department of Economics, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas 75275-0496, 214-768-2714,