IN­­CHER col­­lo­qui­um: The ef­fect of men­tor gen­der on the eva­lua­ti­on of pro­te­gés

Professor Dr. Marc Lerchenmüller, Fakultät für Betriebswirtschaftslehre, Universität Mannheim


The scientific community calls on senior women to help mentoring the next generation of scientists. Yet research indicates that particularly senior women often get undervalued in academia, from hitting glass ceilings to receiving less recognition for accomplishments than male peers. We examine whether these gender differences in evaluations of senior scientists, who are poised to serve as mentors, also affect the evaluation of protégés and their work. Identifying mentors of 4,556 scientists with competitive early career funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), we document a citation discount of 10% on the average paper published by women- relative to men-mentored protégés. Using data on both the publications of the mentored protégés as well as the citing articles, we distinguish supply-side (i.e., scientists’ offerings) from demand-side (i.e., actions by the scientific community) explanations. Supply-side factors appear to account for about 40% of the citation discount. The remainder is explained by men citing protégés of women less often than protégés of men. This gender-biased treatment on the demand-side particularly afflicts work in the most impactful research areas that draw the most citations. Although both men and women mentors spur protégés to producing their very best work, the science community gives women-mentored protégés less recognition for it. These findings raise concerns about an unbiased discourse on the best scientific contributions and about systemic limitations to women serving as mentors as a means to closing gender gaps in science.

Marc J. Lerchenmueller (corresponding author), University of Mannheim and Yale University, New Haven, USA

Leo Schmallenbach, University of Mannheim

Karin Hoisl, University of Mannheim; Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Danmark; and Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, Munich


INCHER-Colloquium in Summer Semester 2022 – Research Colloquium 16.30 – 18.00  (hybrid-event)

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Zur Präsenzteilnahme gelten die Corona-Regelungen der Universität Kassel.

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