July 10, 2007
Gender Differences in Conference Speakers, Citation Counts, and Harvard Law Review Placements
Posted by Christine Hurt

Apparently while we were enjoying the Conglomerate Junior Scholars Workshop yesterday, a conversation was brewing in the blogosphere about the paucity of female panelists at a recent Federalist Society conference Eric Muller and Mary Dudziak are upset; Ilya Somin and Eugene Volokh are not.  Eugene follows up today with some statistics that show that although the panels aren't representative of the percentage of either untenured female professors or tenured female professors, the panels are fairly representative of those with the highest citation counts, which would tend to absolve conference organizers who have to use rough proxies to spot scholars in particular fields.  He then asks why the citation counts might ignore female scholars and offers up some theories.

Eugene's post on citation counts reminded me that two years ago I blogged on the number of women article authors in the Harvard Law Review.  One of the reasons we scholars like to get placements in top, top journals is that we think (or at least we say) that more people will read the article, and possibly cite to the artice.  So, the citation count data may be tied somewhat to the authors in the top journals.  If women are underrepresented in the top journals, then they will be cited less, etc.  In 2005, I surveyed the tables of contents of Volume 116 and 117 of the Harvard Law Review and found that female authors were markedly underrepresented.  This morning, I scanned the tables of contents in Volumes 118, 119 and 120 and found the same results.  (As David Brancacccio says, but more about that, after the numbers.)

In Volume 116, the HLR published pieces by 26 authors, including "in memoriam" pieces and book reviews"; 6 of these authors are women.  (23%).  Excluding all pieces except articles, women make up 5 out of 19 authors (26%).  In Volume 117, six women authors were published out of 28 authors (21%); three women article authors were published out of 19 article authors (15%).

This pattern persists and even worsens in the last three volumes as well.  (I did not count "in memoriam" pieces this time.)  In Volume 118, four women authors were published out of 30 authors (13%); three women article authors were published out of 24 article authors (12.5%).  In Volume 119, four women authors were published out of 33 authors (12%); 3 women article authors were published out of 23 article authors (13%).  In Volume 120, six women authors were published out of 35 authors (17%); six women article authors were published out of 32 authors (18.75%).  Note:  Volume 120 is a little different because Issue 5 was dedicated to Judge Richard Posner and contained pieces by 15 authors (two of whom are women).  These pieces are probably not article -length and I assume were solicited.  Excluding Issue 5, Volume 120 contains 17 article authors, 4 of whom are women (23.5%).

Therefore, in the last five volumes (31 issues, excluding Vol. 120, Issue 5) of the HLR, 18 out of 102 article authors were women (17.64%).  Note:  Out of the pool of 18 women authors, only 17 are unique.  One author, Martha Minow, was published twice (three times if we count Vol. 120, Issue 5).  There were also several male authors who published more than once during this period.  In addition, 4 of the 17 women (and one student author) were untenured at the time of publication.  I note this because as Eugene states, about 25% of full professors are women.

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Comments (1)

1. Posted by Eric on July 10, 2007 @ 11:49 | Permalink

I would think you'd also need to examine the authors' fields of expertise and publishing topics. For example, if it turns out that a sizeable percentage of female professors are publishing on a narrow category of subjects, AND those subjects are not typically published (or are, but not with great regularity) at the top journals, then couldn't that be a cause (and how can the journals be faulted)? Should a journal be forced to publish an article on subject they steer away from just because there needs to be some gender diversity? I'm not suggesting you're taking this position, or that I agree with it, but it just seems that looking at this might move things from why there are corrolations to a possible cause.

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