The contribution of star scientists to overall sex differences in research productivity

Giovanni Abramo, Ciriaco Andrea D'Angelo, Alessandro Caprasecca

The state of the art on the issue of sex differences in research efficiency agrees in recognizing higher performances for males, however there are divergences in explaining the possible causes. One of the causes advanced is that there are sex differences in the availability of aptitude at the "high end". By comparing sex differences in concentration and performance of Italian academic star scientists to the case in the population complement, this work aims to verify if star, or "high-end", scientists play a preponderant role in determining higher performance among males. The study reveals the existence of a greater relative concentration of males among star scientists, as well as a performance gap between male and female star scientists that is greater than for the rest of the population. In the latter subpopulation the performance gap between the two sexs is seen as truly marginal.

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