A new national study, led by UNL professors, finds that while most economists agree on core
economic concepts, values and methods, the separate genders tend to differ in their views on important
The study surveyed hundreds of members of the American Economic Association and found that despite having similar training, male and female economists hold different opinions on many economic issues and specific economic policies including educational vouchers, health insurance and policies toward labor standards.
"We wanted to learn if it would make any difference if men or women were at the table when economic policies were debated and alternatives considered," said Ann Mari May, professor of economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the study's lead author. "These results suggest that the answer to that question is a clear and definitive yes."
The research suggests that women economists are less likely to favor policies that include re-distribution. Meanwhile male economists show more support in reducing taxes.
The study also found that male economists generally think the job market is even for both sexes. This includes wages and job availability. Female economists tend to disagree with this idea.
The authors say their results highlight the importance of including economists of both genders when forming policy to ensure that a variety of professional perspectives are included.
"If demographic differences such as sex help shape our views of policy-related questions, it is important that women be included on boards and in policy-making circles at all levels of decision-making," said Mary McGarvey, UNL associate professor of economics and one of the study's co-authors. "While including women in policy-making circles does not prevent the selection of only those individuals with shared beliefs, it nonetheless may increase the possibility that diverse viewpoints will be represented."
In addition to May and McGarvey, the study was authored by Robert Whaples, professor of economics at Wake Forest University.