In this essay, I use the Lawrence Summers controversy as a jumping-off point for some idle speculation about gender differences in the world of academics and business.

My experience is that in male-dominated organizational groups…Guys tend to flatter the boss in the belief that this will help them build a useful relationship. They try to make their rivals look bad and try to make themselves look good. They disregard people who they think are not in a position to promote them or to compete with them.

…So to Lawrence Summers’ list of possible reasons that women are under-represented in some fields, let me add annoying male-dominance behavior. To the extent that one must put up with or join in such behavior to succeed in largely-male fields, I could see where otherwise qualified women might not have the taste for it.

For more on the controversy, see Annie Gottlieb. Also, posts by Brad DeLong here, here, and here.

For Discussion. What empirical data is most relevant to the controversy raised by Summers?