Gender and Self-promotion

It’s back-to-school time for most academic economists, who have hopefully had a productive summer on the research front.

In case you missed it, a recent article from Inside Higher Ed highlighted the fact that men self-cite significantly more frequently than women do. I’m having trouble remember ever citing myself in a paper, but perhaps I have. Anyway, why does it matter?

“Self-citation may have a consequential impact on scholarly careers by both directly and indirectly increasing an author’s citation counts.”

While citation counts aren’t generally important for tenure and promotion to Associate, this sort of data is considered for promotion to full, research awards, and sometimes annual reviews. So yeah, it matters. And nobody checks for self-citations. Who’s got time for that?

The evidence is just piling up, albeit slowly. Women engage in self-defeating behaviors that hinder their career progress. Or, put differently, men engage in self-promoting behaviors that boost their career progress. I suppose both are true.

Men are more likely to ask for raises and bonuses and perqs. Women wait until their articles are near-perfect to submit to the first journal for consideration. Men overestimate their abilities. Women underestimate theirs.

Discriminatory treatment (which does still happen, btw) is certainly a barrier for women, but they could do more horn-tooting for themselves. And maybe some men could nibble a slice of humble pie every once in a while.