A new study suggests that a disproportionate number of professors are gay.

Colleen Flaherty reports at Inside Higher Ed.

Are Academics Disproportionately Gay?

Academic work is often solitary, but succeeding in the professoriate arguably requires social acumen. So is that why gay men and women are disproportionately represented among academics? A new study investigating the phenomenon of “occupational segregation” argues that certain jobs — including that of professor — are particularly appealing to gay men and lesbians for these reasons.

“Concealable Stigma and Occupational Segregation: Toward a Theory of Gay and Lesbian Occupations” originally was published by Administrative Science Quarterly and featured recently in the London School of Economics and Political Science’s Business Review blog. Written by András Tilcsik, an assistant professor of strategic management at the University of Toronto; Michel Anteby, an associate professor of organizational behavior at Boston University; and Carly R. Knight, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at Harvard University, it seeks to build on largely idiosyncratic explanations for why gay men and women seem to be represented in some jobs more than others. (One notable exception to such haphazard theories is that gays and lesbians are more likely to cross traditional gender barriers in their careers relative to their straight peers. Note: This story has been updated to reflect that Anteby’s first name is Michel, not Michael.)

Building on their earlier study of gay and straight workers, as well as the existing literature on concealable stigmas and stigma management, the authors developed several hypotheses about why certain kinds of jobs — including faculty positions — reportedly employ a disproportionate number of gay men and women.