Does gender structure influence R&D efficiency? A regional perspective

Mingting Kou, Yi Zhang, Yu Zhang, Kaihua Chen, Jiancheng Guan, Senmao Xia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


The gender structure in research and development (R&D) activities has received more and more attention in terms of its increasing importance in R&D management, but it is still not clear what the R&D efficiency discrepancy between female and male personnel is in the science and technology (S&T) field and whether the gender structure affects the R&D efficiency. Based on the region-level panel dataset of China’s research institutes, this study uses four types of R&D outputs (papers, books, patents and standards) together and individually to measure R&D efficiency score to reveal this topic. When four types of R&D outputs are jointly considered, this paper applies the multi-output stochastic frontier analysis and finds that in general the higher proportion of male R&D personnel produces the higher R&D efficiency. Nevertheless, in terms of S&T papers or S&T books as a single R&D output, we find that the higher proportion of female R&D personnel leads to the higher R&D efficiency. On the contrary, the R&D efficiency is lower with the higher proportion of female R&D personnel when the single R&D output is measured by invention patent applications or national/industrial standards, respectively. Our findings suggest that the female R&D personnel are more effective in conducting scientific research activities, while their counterparts are more effective in doing technology development activities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-501
Number of pages25
Issue number1
Early online date11 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • R&D efficiency
  • Gender structure
  • Gender gap
  • China’s research institutes
  • Region-level analysis


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