The Effect of Time Use in Explaining Male–Female Productivity Differences Among Economists


  • The authors would like to thank Nicole Luniewski for her excellent research assistance. The authors would also like to thank Sharon Levin, Robert Toutkoushian, and two anonymous referees for their comments and insights as well as session participants in the CSWEP session on Labor Market Differentials and Outcomes, which was part of the 2011 Midwest Economics Association annual meetings.


This study examines the opportunity cost of non-research responsibilities on research output. Using a sample of early career faculty members who received their Ph.D. in economics, we consider the effect of two dimensions of time use on research output: (1) time allocation, or how time is divided between research and other duties and (2) time concentration, or how research time is distributed during the academic year relative to summer months. This second dimension has not been used in prior studies on research productivity; however, the inherent delays in the publication process as well as start-up costs may imply that concentrating research time exclusively in the summer months reduces research output. We find that both dimensions of time use are significant predictors of peer-reviewed publications and that time concentration is a significant predictor of submissions. We find gender differences in both dimensions of time use, which are attributable to gender differences in employment at research institutions and on-going childcare responsibilities.