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Diagnosing the Leaky Pipeline: Continuing Barriers to the Retention of Latinas and Latinos in Political Science

  • Jessica Lavariega Monforti (a1) and Melissa R. Michelson (a2)

Despite comprising a large and increasing proportion of the United States population—about 14.7%, according to March 2006 Census Bureau estimates—Latinos continue to be severely underrepresented in political science, and today comprise less than 2% of the academy (Census Bureau 2006; Michelson 2007). Increased recent attention to the issues of recruitment and retention of Latino political scientists by professional associations such as the American Political Science Association (APSA) notwithstanding, the number of Latino scholars in the field continues to lag behind that of other racial and ethnic groups. But just where in the pipeline does the problem exist? Are not enough Latinos being recruited for graduate study? Are Latinos being successfully recruited but then not finishing their degrees? Or is the leak occurring later in scholars' careers, perhaps between graduation and tenure? Avalos (1991) noted that Latinas were particularly underrepresented, with few women entering or completing Ph.D. programs. More than 16 years later, does a gender gap persist among Latino political scientists? Do leaks in the pipeline differ for Latinos and Latinas? These are the questions that drive this research.An earlier version of this research was presented at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association. We would like to thank Maria Chavez, Patricia Jamarillo, Lisa García Bedolla, Celeste Montoya, Luis Fraga, Anna Sampaio, and Juan Carlos Huerta for their helpful comments, as well as Michael Jackson and Lilly Montalvo for their research assistance. We are also indebted to all of the respondents for their cooperation. All errors, of course, remain our own.

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PS: Political Science & Politics
  • ISSN: 1049-0965
  • EISSN: 1537-5935
  • URL: /core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics
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