I have a new paper on gender sorting in economic research teams. Here’s the abstract:

I compare the co-authorship patterns of male and female economists, using historical data on National Bureau of Economic Research working papers. Men tended to work in smaller teams than women, but co-authored more papers and so had more co-authors overall. Both men and women had more same-gender co-authors than we would expect if co-authorships were random. This was especially true for men in Macro/Finance.

I show that the NBER co-authorship network is assortatively mixed with respect to gender, and has been since the late 1980s. This could reflect explicit choices to work in same-gender teams. But it could also be a consequence of other choices (e.g., which topics to research) that lead to gender sorting. I leave this distinction open for future research.

The paper uses data from nberwp, an R package I’ve been working on since 2019. I’ve described and used the package in several blog posts:

The paper is in Economics Letters, which publishes concise papers at most 2,000 words long. This seemed appropriate for my paper: it’s longer than a blog post but shorter than an AER epic. The few words mask the many hours spent collecting and cleaning the data (e.g., manually identifying about 2,500 authors’ genders). Such is the nature of publishing empirical work.