Publication Date

May 2000


Faculty gender ratios vary considerably across institutions, and past research (Tolbert and Oberfield 1991; Bach and Perrucci 1984) has shown that certain characteristics of institutions have a significant effect on these gender ratios. Understanding the drivers of faculty gender ratio variation is important since the concentration of women in particular types of institutions contributes to gender differences in earnings, career patterns and employment outcomes.

This thesis tests the hypotheses, drawn from theories of organizational behavior, that gender ratios of assistant professors are influenced by employers’ discriminatory preferences, the gender composition of the student body, and women’s preferences for employment in teaching vs. research universities. In addition, it is hypothesized that public institutions and institutions located in highly-populated areas will have a greater proportion of female assistant professors.

The explanatory variables suggested by the hypotheses are examined using cross-sectional data from two separate years, and a fixed-effects analysis is used to obtain unbiased estimates. The results support all of the hypotheses except for the preference of women for employment in teaching universities.

This thesis also attempts to explain the variation in faculty gender ratios across economics departments. It is hypothesized that the departmental model will be more accurate than the institutional model since hiring decisions are made at the departmental level. The results, however, do not support this hypothesis. The implications of this thesis for future studies of inter-organizational variation in faculty gender ratios are discussed


Suggested Citation
Rajeswaren, A. N. (2000) Determinants of faculty gender ratios across institutions and departments (CHERI Working Paper #7). Retrieved [insert date], from Cornell University, ILR Site site:

Required Publisher Statement
Cornell University Senior Honors Thesis; published by the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute, Cornell University.