Signaling and subconscious bias in Economics papers

I saw down this afternoon to read a paper on inheritance laws and gender for a paper on societal discrimination against adolescent girls. I found it through another paper that describes it as identifying a causal effect of allowing women to inherit land on educational attainment and age of marriage and so of course my econometric feelers went up. I was going to read it anyway, but you all know I’m glutton for seeking out statistical causal identification strategies. I’ve been putting off the paper because though the paper comes out of the World Bank’s Working Paper series, the cover page really wasn’t doing it for me.

I finally scrolled to the next page this afternoon, and it’s typed using LaTeX, a scientific word processing program. Wouldn’t you know that just seeing that font makes me that much more excited to read it? And, though I hate to admit it, maybe even a little more trusting of what’s coming, even though I haven’t read it yet?

Kind of scary. I would love to see a study of this over time. How is a paper typed in Word Perfect received versus a paper typed using a scientific editor?

Cited:  Deininger, K., A. Goyal, and H. Nagarajan (2010) “Inheritance Law Reform and Women’s Access to Capital: Evidence from India’s Hindu Succession Act.” Policy Research Working Paper 5338. Washington, DC: World Bank.

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