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

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

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Abstract

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
JournalScientometrics
Volume122
Issue number1
Early online date11 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020

Funder

he work in this paper was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Project Nos. 71804008, 71804028, 71874179), the Youth Project of Philosophy and Social Sciences Research, Ministry of Education of China (Grant No. 18YJC630251), and the China Youth Innovation Promotion Association (Grant No. 2015131) (Project No. Y201121Z01). Funding Information: Mingting Kou, Yi Zhang, Yu Zhang, Kaihua Chen, Jiancheng Guan have contributed equally to this paper and they are considered as the co-first authors. The work in this study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant number, 71804008; 71804028; 71471170), the Project of Humanistic and Social Sciences Research, Ministry of Education of China (Grant number, 18JHQ078; 18YJC630251), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant number, FRF-TP-19-008A2) and the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province in China (Grant number, 2018A030310682).

Keywords

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

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