DP17229 Women in European Academia before 1800 - Religion, Marriage, and Human Capital

Author(s): David de la Croix, Mara Vitale
Publication Date: April 2022
Keyword(s): Academy, gender, Protestantism, Publications, University
JEL(s): I23, J16, N33, Z12
Programme Areas: Economic History
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=17229

We document the participation of women in European academia from the first universities to the eve of the Industrial Revolution. 108 women taught at universities or were members of academies of arts and sciences. Most of them were active in Catholic southern Europe - an unexpected result. We conjecture that Protestantism left less room for women at the top of the distribution of human capital to exercise their talent. The percentage of ever-married female scholars is 79%, but a large fraction of them remained childless. We measure the quality of women in academia through their publications. Comparing them to 52,000 male scholars, we find that they were on average better, suggesting some form of discrimination.