Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

Diversity in Tastes, Values, and Preferences: Comment on Jonung and Ståhlberg

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Abstract

This paper comments on the lead symposium article, “Reaching the Top?—On Gender Balance in the Economics Profession,” by Christina Jonung and Ann-Charlotte Ståhlberg. Jonung and Ståhlberg demonstrate that the economics profession recruits few women even in (or especially in) western Europe. This comment presents an alternative explanation, called preference theory, based on women’s greater propensity to prefer work-life balance, in contrast to men’s greater propensity to prefer work-centred lifestyles. Intellectual ability alone does not predict success in a career. Relevant life goals and motivation matter greatly.