Academic Job Market

Gender Stereotypes in Academic Reference Letters

In new research, Markus Eberhardt, Giovanni Facchini, and Valeria Rueda delve into a unique database comprising 12,000 reference letters, which were written in support of more than 3,700 applicants applying for academic job positions in economics in the United Kingdom. Their analysis uncovers a pervasive disparity in the way male and female candidates are recommended. Specifically, the authors observe that women are frequently lauded for their hard work and determination, and at times less likely to be praised for their natural talent. They also show that such gender-based stereotyping hinders the progress of women economists.