“Is There a Gender Gap in Musical Creativity?” with Michael Mauskapf, Columbia University

Event time: 
Monday, November 18, 2019 - 11:40am to 12:55pm
Institution for Social and Policy Studies (PROS77 ), A002 See map
77 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 


Abstract: Despite the large number of women trained and employed in the creative professions, perceptions of creative achievement in the fields of art, literature, and music remain gender biased. Recent efforts to understand this puzzle focus on demand-side explanations – the extent to which audiences assign less value to creative products made by women. In contrast, this paper identifies the extent to which there is a gender gap in the novelty of creative products themselves. Using an exhaustive dataset comprised of over 200,000 songs written and released between 1955 and 2000, we (1) construct an algorithmically-derived measure of musical novelty and (2) investigate when there are systematic differences in creative output by gender. We find that, although there are nearly four times more men than women operating in this space, there is no mean difference in musical creativity. Female artists do, however, have unequal access to critical resources such as career longevity, major label support, collaboration networks, and peer support. After accounting for these factors, we find that equivalently-resourced women tend to be significantly more creative than their male counterparts. These results suggest that female musicians are held to a higher standard, and only the most creative (women) survive and thrive in the musical marketplace.

Michael Mauskapf is an Assistant Professor of Management at Columbia Business School, where he uses computational methods to study the dynamics of creativity, innovation, and success in cultural markets. His research has been published in the American Sociological Review, Academy of Management Review, and the Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings, and it has been featured in a number of popular press outlets, including ABC News, BBC News, The Economist, New York Post, NPR, and Quartz. Michael is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (B.A. in Music), the University of Michigan (M.A., Ph.D. in Musicology), and Northwestern University (Ph.D. in Management & Organizations), and he teaches ‘Foundations of Entrepreneurship’ in the full-time MBA program at Columbia.

This workshop is cosponsored by the Center for the Study of American Politics (CSAP) and the Yale School of Management (SOM) with support from the Initiative for Leadership and Organization at SOM.

Open to the Yale community only.

Open to: