Gender Differences in the Evaluation of Professors
This project investigates whether professors’ teaching quality is perceived in the same way by male and female students. Answering this question is crucial for several reasons. First, analyzing the main drivers of teaching evaluations may help in understanding how “objective” they are, and to what extent they serve as a tool to judge professors’ teaching performance. Second, and more broadly, investigating gender-related preferences of students could contribute to the literature on gender economics, and in particular explaining the lack of women in leadership positions on the academic job market. For instance, if male students have a preference for male professors (compared to female students), it could explain why women have difficulties getting to the top in male-dominated areas. In fact, the number of working women in high positions is still low, in academia as well as the private sector (Bertrand and Hallock, 2001) - despite a narrowing of the gender gap in education. We use anonymized student evaluation data from the Università della Svizzera italiana (USI), which are of excellent quality as students are required to fill out the evaluations to see their grades. This ensures that student selection into response behavior is practically absent. Moreover, we will collect evaluations of students enrolled in three different faculties (Economics, Communication, and Informatics), which differ from each other in the share of female professors (and also the share of female students). This heterogeneity in the number of female professors will allow us to explore whether gender differences in the evaluation of female professors (if they exist) are higher in fields with a low share of female professors.