Confidence Men? Evidence among Top Economists

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Does a confidence gap exist between men and women who made it to the very top of their careers? Using data from a select group of economists working in top U.S. universities, we find that women are still less confident than men along two margins. First, when asked about their level of agreement on survey questions about the economy, women are less likely to give “extreme” answers in which they strongly agree or disagree. Second, women are less confident in the accuracy of their answer. The results persist after controlling for the year the PhD was granted, the PhD awarding institution, the current institution, and the number of solo and co-authored publications up to the point of tenure. We provide suggestive evidence that the confidence gap is driven by women being less confident when asked questions that are outside their field of expertise.

Last updated on 11/10/2015