But that headline doesn’t even scratch the surface of how interesting this study is. Erin Hengel examined papers by economists in top journals. She found:
- Women’s papers took longer from submission to publication
- Women’s abstracts were more readable than men’s (employing standard measures of readability)
- Women’s papers improved in readability than men’s, during the transition from draft to final published version.
- Women’s abstracts’ readability continued to improve steadily throughout their careers, while men’s did not– leading to a very large gap in readability for senior women.
Hengel suggests that this may offer us a partial explanation for the often-noted productivity gap between men and women. If women are revising their papers more, and spending longer bringing them up to a higher standard, they are likely to publish more slowly. After considering several explanations, she concludes that the most likely one is that referees are tougher on women’s work than…
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