Impact of family characteristics on the gender publication gap: evidence for physicists in France

Jacques Mairesse, Michele Pezzoni, Fabiana Visentin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Downloads (Pure)


The publication gender gap in science has been extensively studied. Although women have been found to be less productive than men, little is known about the reasons behind gender differences. Unique longitudinal data collected by surveying a large sample of French physicists gave us the opportunity to investigate the role of family characteristics over time. Using panel data econometrics, we confirm the existence of an average gender gap of about two-thirds of a journal article per year, and about one-third when taking into account several important control variables such as age and career characteristics. We find that female scientists suffer an average productivity loss of about one article when they have a young child, while male scientists suffer an insignificant loss. We also find that female scientists benefit from having large families, with a productivity gain of 0.63 articles per year per child.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-220
Number of pages17
JournalInterdisciplinary Science Reviews
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019

JEL classifications

  • i23 - Higher Education and Research Institutions
  • j13 - "Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth"


  • gender gap
  • publication productivity
  • Family Characteristics
  • panel data
  • physics
  • Gender gap
  • family characteristics

Cite this