The Gender Citation Gap in International Relations

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We investigate the extent to which citation and publication patterns differ between men and women in the international relations literature. Using data from the Teaching, Research, and International Policy project on peer-reviewed publications between 1980 and 2006, we show that women are systematically cited less than men after controlling for a large number of variables including year of publication, quality of publication, substantive focus, theoretical perspective, methodology, tenure status, and institutional affiliation. These results are robust to a variety of modeling choices. We then turn to network analysis to investigate the extent to which the gender of a given article’s author affects that article’s relative centrality in the network of citations between papers in our sample. We show that articles authored by women are systematically less central than articles authored by men, all else equal. We argue and then show that this is likely due to two factors: (1) women tend to cite themselves less than men, and (2) men (who make up a disproportionate share of IR scholars) tend to cite men more than women. This is the first study in political science to reveal significant gender differences in citation patterns. This finding is especially significant since citation counts have historically been viewed as a relatively objective and important measure of the quality and impact of research. 

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