Economics remains a stubbornly male-dominated profession, a fact that members of the profession have struggled to understand.

After all, if the marketplace of ideas is meant to ensure that the best ideas thrive, then this imbalance should arise only if men have better ideas than women. That implication infuriates many female economists. Now new evidence suggests that the underrepresentation of women reflects a systemic bias in that marketplace: a failure to give women full credit for collaborative work done with men.

At least that is the conclusion of research by Heather Sarsons, a brilliant young economist currently completing her dissertation at Harvard. And it is a pattern that may explain why women struggle to get ahead in other professions involving teamwork.

Ms. Sarsons compiled data on the publication records of young economists recruited by top universities in the United States over the last 40 years. The career path for economists — as in most academic fields — is largely organized around tenure. It is called “publish or perish,” because once young economists are hired, they have seven years to be either promoted and offered a job for life or fired. Her findings are documented in a working paper, “Gender Differences in Recognition for Group Work,” that has generated a lot of buzz among economists.

To read the full article, visit: