A new study shows a large gender gap on economic policy among the nation’s professional economists, a divide similar — and in some cases bigger — than the gender divide found in the general public.
(A new study shows a large gender gap on attitudes among economists.(Photo: Thinkstock))
- Male and female economists have opinion differences
- Male economists tend to favor free market solutions
- Female economists tend to support more government
9:10PM EST September 30. 2012 – What does an economist think of that?
A lot depends on whether the economist is a man or a woman. A new study shows a large gender gap on economic policy among the nation’s professional economists, a divide similar — and in some cases bigger — than the gender divide found in the general public.
Differences extend to core professional beliefs — such as the effect of minimum wage laws — not just matters of political opinion.
Female economists tend to favor a bigger role for government while male economists have greater faith in business and the marketplace. Is the U.S. economy excessively regulated? Sixty-five percent of female economists said “no” — 24 percentage points higher than male economists.
“As a group, we are pro-market,” says Ann Mari May, co-author of the study and a University of Nebraska economist. “But women are more likely to accept government regulation and involvement in economic activity than our male colleagues.”
Opinion differences between men and women are well-documented in the general public. President Obama leads Mitt Romney by 10 percentage points among women. Romney leads Obama by 3 percentage points among men, according to the latest Gallup Poll.
The survey of 400 economists is one of the first to examine whether gender differences matter within a profession. The answer for economists: Yes.
How economists think:
- Health insurance. Female economists thought employers should be required to provide health insurance for full-time workers: 40% in favor to 37% against, with the rest offering no opinion. By contrast, men were strongly against the idea: 21% in favor and 52% against.
- Education. Females narrowly opposed taxpayer-funded vouchers that parents could use for tuition at a public or private school of their choice. Male economists love the idea: 61% to 14%.
- Labor standards. Females believe 48% to 33% that trade policy should be linked to labor standards in foreign counties. Males disagreed: 60% to 23%.
“It’s very puzzling,” says free-market economist Veronique de Rugy of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. “Not a day goes by that I don’t ask myself why there are so few women economists on the free-market side.”
“Not a day goes by that I don’t ask myself why there are so few women economists on the free market side.”
— Veronique de Rugy
A native of France, de Rugy supported government intervention early in her life but changed her mind after studying economics. “We want many of the same things as liberals — less poverty, more health care — but have radically different ideas on how to achieve it.”
Liberal economist Dean Baker, co-founder of the Center for Economic Policy and Research, says male economists have been on the inside of the profession, confirming each other’s anti-regulation views. Women, as outsiders, “are more likely to think independently or at least see people outside of the economics profession as forming their peer group,” he says.
The gender balance in economics is changing. One-third of economics doctorates now go to women. The chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers has been a woman three of 27 times since 1946 — one advising Obama and two advising Bill Clinton. The Federal Reserve Board of Governors has three women, bringing the total to eight of 90 members since 1914.
“More diversity is needed at the table when public policy is discussed,” May says.
Economists do agree on some things. Female economists agree with men that Europe has too much regulation and that Walmart is good for society. Male economists agree with their female colleagues that military spending is too high.
The genders are most divorced from each other on the question of equality for women. Male economists overwhelmingly think the wage gap between men and women is largely the result of individuals’ skills, experience and voluntary choices. Female economists overwhelmingly disagree by a margin of 4-to-1.
The biggest disagreement: 76% of women say faculty opportunities in economics favor men. Male economists point the opposite way: 80% say women are favored or the process is neutral.
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Economists often note that durable goods orders is one of the more volatile economic indicators that we get every month.
However, there wasn’t much sugar-coating anyone could do to the Thursday’s report that showed durable goods orders plunged 13 percent in August. Economists were looking for a 5.0 percent decline.
In his latest Breakfast with Dave note, David Rosenberg points to one sub-component of the durable goods report that sent a particularly scary signal.
The three-month moving average of core capex orders (i.e. nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft) was -4.1 percent in August.
“History shows when the trend weakened to the level we see today, the economy was in recession 100% of the time,” wrote Rosenberg. “So stick that in you pipe and smoke it!”
This is also bad news for jobs. According to Rosenberg’s data
, this measure has an 83 percent correlation with private employment.
Rosenberg also notes that durable goods orders has an 86% correlation to the stock market.
the media makes a note of how the progressives have caused an imbalance in our lives, but the feminist solution will cause repression and a break down of our economy. very sad that the people who have access to research are part of the problem.. Obviously written from a feminist or womanist (whatever they want to call themselves this week) point of view because we all understand that sex is already scarce… in fact many of our economic problems are related directly to it’s scarcity. Sex should be part of daily life. The modern day Mohammad can thank the feminists for his cost effective brothel. With no American man working… guess who is buying all our workforce? They don’t call it the service sector for nothing. Guess who gets the job and guess who doesn’t? Do a Google search for the word “Mancession”.
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The following was published (April 9th 2011) during the first week of the baseball season: Major League Baseball plays a long season, and the Red Sox may yet turn it around after losing seven games and winning just one in their first eight. But at the moment. it’s not looking so good for the “experts.” Sports Illustrated predicted the Red Sox would win 100 games and win the World Series. At ESPN, 33 of its 45 pundits predicted the Red Sox would win the World Series.…If it’s this hard to predict baseball, imagine how hard it is to forecast developments in other complex systems. The Federal Reserve tries to fine-tune the performance of the nation’s economy through monetary policy.
Climatologists try to forecast how warm it will be 50 or 100 years from now and what that will do to sea levels. Predictions in complex systems are hard. That doesn’t mean they should never be attempted or acted upon, just that they should be treated with the skepticism they deserve. DOUBLE CHOKE! A Mad World: by Gary Jules: