Study Shows the Importance of Having Women Economists Participate in Policy Discussions

Ann Mari May, a professor of economics in the College of Business Administration at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, is the lead author of a study that finds when examining identical data, women economists often come to different conclusions than their male counterparts. Dr. May surveyed a large group of economists, all of whom had a Ph.D. in the field.

Professor May’s analysis showed that women and men economists differed very little on matters of methodology and theory. But her survey showed that women economists were 41 percentage points more likely to agree that the tax structure needs to be more progressive. Women were 20 percentage points more likely than men to reject the idea that there is excessive government regulation of business in the United States.

“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 Professor May, who holds bachelor’s, master.’s and Ph.D. degrees from Colorado State University. “These results suggest that the answer to that question is a clear and definitive yes.”

“If demographic differences such as sex help shape our views of policy related questions, it is important that women be included on boards and in policy-making circles at all levels of decision-making,” said Mary McGarvey, an associate professor of economics at the University of Nebraska and one of the study’s co-authors.

The study will be published in a forthcoming edition of the journal Contemporary Economic Policy.

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/Study

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