While the empirical evidence that VP’s for Diversity, 5-year IDEAL plans, mandatory implicit bias training, and expensive “Diversity Action Plans” like we have at UO make any difference is at best mixed, this new paper – from a new Princeton economist – makes it pretty clear that having a female department chair does matter:
Appointing female managers is a common proposal to improve women’s representation and outcomes in the workplace, but it is unclear how well such policies accomplish these goals. I study the effect of female managers on workforce composition, the gender pay gap, productivity, and promotion in the context of academic departments. Using newly-collected panel data, I exploit variation in the timing of transitions between male and female department chairs with a difference-in-differences research design. I find female department chairs reduce gender gaps in publications and tenure for assistant professors and shrink the gender pay gap. Replacing a male chair with a female chair also increases the number of female students among incoming graduate cohorts by ten percent with no evidence of a change in ability correlates for the average student.