MSCA Conference speakers - Thomas Breda
Thomas Breda is associate professor at Paris School of Economics, full-time junior researcher at CNRS, and director of the programme Employment and Labour at the Institute for Public Policy.
He has graduated from Ecole normale supérieure (ENS-PSL) and holds a PhD from Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS). His research in labor economics aims at developing new strategies to measure inequalities or discriminations and their social and institutional causes. He is interested in three types of institutions in the broadest sense: gender norms, worker representation systems, and labor taxation. Some of his original contributions focus on gender inequalities and the collective representation of employees.
They uncover new forms of discriminations; e.g., against union representatives in firms having industrial disputes, or against the gender that is numerically dominant in a given academic field. His research is published both as articles in international journals such as Science, PNAS or the Economic Journal and as books or articles in French.
He will take part in the 2022 MSCA conference, in the first workshop on gender equality in science.
A few more words
Thomas Breda speaks about his work and his participation in the conference.
Introduce yourself briefly. What are you currently working on?
I am an economist working on inequalities on the labor market, with a focus on gender inequality. I am currently working on designing new ways of measuring gender stereotypes on a large scale using large surveys available in several countries.
You will participate in the conference as part of the gender equality workshop, why does this topic matter to you?Broadly speaking, I am interested in my research in the interplay between “market forces” (e.g. supply and demand) and institutions or social norms on the labor market. Gender is a key dimension to understand this interplay. It generates large differences in careers, wages, type of jobs, etc. These differences almost always lead to objective economic inequalities (the outcomes are better for men than women) with no clear counterpart in terms of economic efficiency or performance.
One of your key research subject is gender equality. In your view, what role do companies and research centers play in this issue?
When a research paper is jointly written by a man and a woman, the woman usually get less credit for the publication.
They of course play a key role as making the workplace more inclusive and diverse is a milestone toward reaching gender equality. Talking about academia in particular, they have been a lot of empirical studies showing among other things that women are not systematically discriminated in academic careers but that researchers can hold various type of biases possibly making their careers more difficult. For example, it has been shown that when a research paper is jointly written by a man and a woman (in fields where the alphabetic order is used), the woman usually get less credit for the publication. This reveals how researchers tend to evaluate the contribution of men and women to a piece of work that is done jointly. Research centers should first connect more with existing research on gender equality in academia in order to provide objective ad unbiased information that all researchers are able to process and understand. They should use the existing evidence to identify what are the priorities. For example, it is often useful to offer (or impose) training on diversity and gender biases.
What advice you could give to young MSCA scientists to address this issue in their scientific career?
Gaining awareness of the existing challenges and problems is already a good step toward limiting them! I encourage MSCA scientists of all genders to increase their understanding of gender inequality in academia and its possible causes.