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Sex Differences in Research Productivity: Solving the Puzzle?

Publication Abstract

Xie, Yu, and Kimberlee Akin. "Sex Differences in Research Productivity: Solving the Puzzle?" PSC Research Report No. 94-322. October 1994.

Numerous studies have found that female scientists publish at slower rates than male scientists. So far, explanations for this consistent pattern remain elusive. This paper reports some empirical findings of a detailed analysis of data from three large, nationally representative surveys of postsecondary faculty in 1969, 1972, and 1988. Based on a series of hierarchical, multivariate Poisson-rate models, our statistical results clearly show that observed sex differences in research productivity can be attributed to sex differences in personal characteristics, structural positions, and facilitating resources. We interpret the results to mean that sex differences in research productivity seem to stem from sex differences in career tracks and access to resources rather than sex differences in role performance. For scientists of identical characteristics (except for sex) in identical positions and with identical resources, differences in research productivity between men and women are nil or negligibly small.

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