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Dearth by a Thousand Cuts?: Accounting for Gender Differences in Top-Ranked Publication Rates in Social Psychology


  • The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the Russell Sage Foundation, the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, Princeton's Joint Degree Program in Social Policy, and the Charlotte Elizabeth Procter fellowship, awarded by Princeton University to MC.

Mina Cikara, Department of Social and Decision Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 [e-mail:].


Publication in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, a flagship indicator of scientific prestige, shows dramatic gender disparities. A bibliometric analysis included yoked-control authors matched for PhD prestige and cohort. Though women publish less, at slower annual rates, they are more cited in handbooks and textbooks per JPSP-article-published. No gender differences emerged on variables reflecting differential qualifications. Many factors explain gender discrepancy in productivity. Among top publishers, per-year rate and first authorship especially differ by gender; rate uniquely predicts top-male productivity, whereas career-length uniquely predicts top-female productivity. Among men, across top-publishers and controls, productivity correlates uniquely with editorial negotiating and being married. For women, no personal variables predict productivity. A separate inquiry shows tiny gender differences in acceptance rates per JPSP article submitted; discrimination would be a small-but-plausible contributor, absent independent indicators of manuscript quality. Recent productivity rates mirror earlier gender disparities, suggesting gender gaps will continue.