Gender Differences in Recognition for Group Work

Academic study of the question: How is credit for group work allocated when individual contributions are not perfectly observed?


I argue that women receive less credit for group work when employers can not perfectly observe their contribution. When sig- nals are noisy, employers have to infer each worker’s ability or productivity. Coauthored papers provide employers with a noisy signal. The fact that women who work specifically with men receive tenure at lower rates than comparable women who work alone or with other women suggests that gender enters into the employer’s inference process. However, when employers receive clear signals, men and women are treated similarly. For exam- ple, men and women receive the same amount of credit for solo-authored papers, which provide a clear signal of ability. Furthermore, when the uncertainty in a coauthored paper is resolved, as in sociology, women and men again receive the same amount of credit for joint work. I show that these results are not explained by sorting or women presenting their work less. I also argue that it is not due to blatant taste-based discrimination.