Development Roast

Equal pay for unequal work: A gender analysis of productivity at INESAD

By: Lykke E. Andersen*

At INESAD there is no gender discrimination in salaries. But there ought to be. As I will show in this blog, women at INESAD are on average about four times more productive than men.

Admittedly, it is a small sample. We are currently only six senior researchers at INESAD: Two females and four males (we recently lost one female to Panama). Junior researchers come and go, and for administrative and support staff it is difficult to measure productivity, so in this blog I will focus on the productivity of the six current senior researchers who were all salaried staff at INESAD during the last three calendar years (2014-2016). All of them have a Ph.D. in Economics from a foreign university many years ago (except one, who didn't bother to finish and defend his Ph.D.-thesis, because he (correctly) perceived that it would not add to his earnings potential).

How can we measure productivity? It is difficult in our rather intangible field of thinking, but the chosen indicators should at least be based on our stated mission and vision.

The mission of INESAD is to “Generate, disseminate and transfer knowledge to overcome critical obstacles to sustainable socioeconomic development, seeking to influence public policy.”

The vision of INESAD is the following: “We want to be a leading centre of research on sustainable socio-economic development, recognised both nationally and internationally for the quality and relevance of our research, and through this having a real influence on public policy.”

So the production and dissemination of research is clearly the foundation of our work, as is our contribution to the national and international rankings of INESAD.

The generation of knowledge is best measured by the number of working papers 1, books 2, and book chapters 3 that we produce. The dissemination and impact of this knowledge can be measured by publications in peer-reviewed journals and the number of citations they receive. Influence on policy is difficult to measure, but some first steps are to produce policy briefs and write blogs accessible to policy makers and funding agencies. The rankings of INESAD in national and international comparisons (such as IDEAS 4 and the Global Go To Think Tank Ranking 5) depend both on our scientific production and the perception of international peers about the quality and usefulness of that research.

The following indicators can be constructed from data publicly available on the INESAD website 6, at EDIRC 7 (Economics Departments, Institutes and Research Centers in the World), and Google Scholar 8.

  • Average number of INESAD working papers published per person per year.

  • Average number of INESAD books published per person per year.

  • Average number of INESAD chapters published per person per year.

  • Average number of INESAD policy briefs published per person per year.

  • Average number of INESAD blogs published per person per year.

  • Average number of articles published in peer-reviewed journals per person per year.

  • Average number of other publications published per person per year (e.g. books and working papers written for and published by other institutions).

  • Average number of citations per person per year (as calculated by Google Scholar).

From Figure 1 we can see that the women at INESAD on average published 2.8 working papers per person per year during the last three calendar years. However, the men at INESAD only produced 0.5 working papers per person per year, which is less than a fifth of the productivity of women.

The women produced on average half a book per year per person, and some of the men got to be co-authors or co-editors on these books. In terms of book chapters, women are almost twice as productive as men, and they were seven times more productive than men in terms of the production of policy briefs (including the Cartillas Informativas of EMINPRO).

At INESAD we are supposed to write just eight blog posts per year per person, and the women passed that goal during 2014-2016, while the men on average did not even manage to write three blogs per year per person.

In terms of publications in peer reviewed journals, the women averaged 1.2 articles per person per year, while men only averaged a quarter of that. Finally, the women published on average 2.3 works per person per year in other places than INESAD (e.g. IPEA, IFPRI, and the UN), which is about five times as much as the men.

Figure 1: Average number of publications per person per year, 2014-2016

04-04-2017 DevRoast-01

The average number of citations received per year per person reflects the quality and usefulness of our research. Figure 2 shows that the women at INESAD are cited almost 4 times more frequently than the men, although the statistics for the men are slightly downward biased due to the fact that one INESAD male is still not registered with Google Scholar.

Figure 2: Average number of citations per person per year, 2014-2016

04-04-2017 DevRoast-02

Thus, while female and male researchers at INESAD currently receive exactly the same monthly salary, women earn less than 25% of men per unit of output produced.

I am not sure whether to call that gender discrimination, but it does suggest that women are severely lacking in their salary negotiation skills. And that, I think, is at the crux of the gender wage gap. Women are too nice for their own good.

* Senior Researcher at INESAD. The viewpoints expressed in this blog are the responsibility of the author and probably do not reflect the viewpoints of all the members of Fundación INESAD.
  3. llo-en-bolivia/
  5. ticle=1011&context=think_tanks
  8. AAAJ&hl=es