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Do women have longer conversations? Telephone evidence of gendered communication strategies


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  • Friebel, Guido
  • Seabright, Paul


We investigate whether there are systematic gender differences in communication behavior by telephone. First, we report a study of anonymized billing records of 3103 subscribers to a large mobile operator in Italy and Greece over 2Â years from 2006 to 2008. Faced with identical tariffs, women make fewer calls than men, and their calls last 16% longer controlling for other factors. Secondly, we report a study of some 92,000 person-days of calls to call-center employees of a large consumer services company operator at four sites in Germany. Calls randomly allocated to women last 15% longer than those of men controlling for other factors. There is no evidence, however, that this results in the women being any less effective employees than the men; indeed, in operations involving sales where it is possible to measure productivity by this criterion, female employees make slightly more sales per shift than men. It appears instead to reflect systematic gender differences in communication strategies, though it may reflect also an element of preference by both men and women for speaking to women. The findings of both studies are highly statistically significant and are found across all age groups. The magnitude of gender differences is sensitive to the costs of communication. The results have implications for possible explanations of gender clustering in the labor market.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Psychology.

Volume (Year): 32 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 348-356

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Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:32:y:2011:i:3:p:348-356

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Keywords: Gender differences Communication Telephones Discrimination Social networks;


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  1. Uri Gneezy & Kenneth L. Leonard & John A. List, 2009. "Gender Differences in Competition: Evidence From a Matrilineal and a Patriarchal Society," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(5), pages 1637-1664, 09.
  2. Dreber, Anna & Johannesson, Magnus, 2008. "Gender differences in deception," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 197-199, April.
  3. Chen, Yan & Katuščák, Peter & Ozdenoren, Emre, 2013. "Why canʼt a woman bid more like a man?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 181-213.
  4. Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance In Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074, August.
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  1. ¿Por qué hay más mujeres en ONG’s que en Partidos políticos? Ideas sueltas
    by Cives in Politikon on 2012-06-21 18:19:14


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