Academic Policies

Stop the clock: Tenure, gender, and children

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Science  11 May 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6389, pp. 616
DOI: 10.1126/science.360.6389.616-c

Allowing both male and female faculty to stop their tenure clock when having a child can increase tenure rates for the former and reduce them for the latter. Antecol et al. analyzed data on all assistant-professor hires at top-50 economics departments from 1980 to 2005; 44% of women and 47% of men had a child within 5 years of completing their Ph.D., before typical tenure deadlines. Differential effects of clock policies on tenure are driven by the fact that men publish more in top-tier journals after policies take effect, whereas women do not. Policies may not compensate for the specific productivity challenges that women face after childbirth. Despite this early setback, and the subsequent career churn, clock policies do not hurt women's chances of ultimately gaining tenure in the profession.

Amer. Econ. Rev. 10.1257/aer.20160613 (2018).

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