Discrimination based on “writing style”

Blind Review” cannot eliminate the “gender gap” in innovation: Women are apparently “penalized” in scientific peer review for a “narrower” (more precise?) communication style – although it is not correlated with ex-post performance (measures of quality such as citations). This is shown in a recent study by Julian Kolev, Yuly Fuentes-Medel and Fiona Murray of the US National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER.

The corresponding working paper can be accessed here (for a fee).1

The study is interesting in the context of our research on grading in state law exams (see here). We had hypothesized (which we have not yet been able to test empirically) that examiners may stereotype handwriting to genders in the anonymous written part of the exam; this study now suggests that there may also be stylistic stereotypes and cues.

  1. That the text of a government-funded research institution (a working paper at that, not even a properly typeset journal article that might have been professionally distributed by a commercial publisher) is only available for a fee is completely incomprehensible to me in times of Open Access and Open Science initiatives.