Michael Mauskapf, Columbia Business School

Is There a Gender Gap in the Creative Production of Music?
Michael Mauskapf


Fall 2018
Lecture Time: 
Friday, October 12, 2018 - 1:30pm to 3:00pm
Lecture Location: 
R0220 Ross School of Business
Introduced By: 
Saerom Lee


Psychologist Nathan Kogan suggested over forty years ago that “neither sex is at an advantage in regard to ‘creativity potential’,” yet there remains a widely held belief that men are more creative than women. Most of the research in this area focuses on the role perceptions play in producing systematic gender biases, but we know less about how these biases affect the process of creative production itself. Even in contexts where there may be real differences in creative output, we do not fully understand the conditions that produce these differences. To better understand if and when there is a gender gap in creativity, we employ a computationally-derived dataset describing over 10,000 musical artists and 400,000 songs released between 1955 and 2000. We find that, while there is no mean difference in song novelty by gender, certain conditions -- including artist tenure, success, category affiliation, and network size and composition -- create systematic inequalities in creative output. These results suggest that female artists are held to a higher bar then their male counterparts, and only the creative (women) survive.

Recording & Additional Notes

Michael Mauskapf is an Assistant Professor of Management at Columbia Business School, where he studies 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, 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). He currently teaches ‘Foundations of Entrepreneurship’ in the full-time MBA program at Columbia, and remains active as a performer, board member, and consultant in the arts and culture sector.