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How to attract an audience at a conference: Paper, person or place?


  • Isabel Günther

    (ETH Zürich)

  • Melanie Grosse

    (Georg-August University Göttingen)

  • Stephan Klasen

    (Georg-August University Göttingen)


We analyze the drivers of the size of the audience and number of questions asked in parallel sessions at the annual conference of the German Economics Association. We find that the location of the presentation is at least as important for the number of academics attending a talk as the combined effect of the person presenting and the paper presented. Being a presenter in a late morning session on the second day of a conference, close to the place where coffee is served, significantly increases the size of the audience. When it comes to asking questions, location becomes less important, but smaller rooms lead to more questions being asked (by women). Younger researchers as well as very senior researchers attract more questions and comments. There are also interesting gender effects. Women attend research sessions more diligently than men, but seem to ask fewer questions than men. Men are less likely to attend presentations on health, education, welfare, and development economics than women. Our findings suggest that strategic scheduling of sessions could ensure better participation at conferences. Moreover, different behaviors of men and women at conferences might also contribute to the lack of women in senior scientist positions.

Suggested Citation

  • Isabel Günther & Melanie Grosse & Stephan Klasen, 2016. "How to attract an audience at a conference: Paper, person or place?," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 210, Courant Research Centre PEG.
  • Handle: RePEc:got:gotcrc:210

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Charles F. Manski, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 531-542.
    2. Marianne A. Ferber & Michael Brün, 2011. "The Gender Gap in Citations: Does It Persist?," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(1), pages 151-158, January.
    3. Borghans, Lex & Romans, Margo & Sauermann, Jan, 2010. "What makes a good conference? Analysing the preferences of labour economists," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 868-874, October.
    4. Rhoten, Diana & Pfirman, Stephanie, 2007. "Women in interdisciplinary science: Exploring preferences and consequences," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 56-75, February.
    5. Andreas Haufler & Johannes Rincke, 2009. "Wer trägt bei der Jahrestagung des Vereins für Socialpolitik vor? Eine empirische Analyse," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 10(2), pages 123-145, May.
    6. Maliniak, Daniel & Powers, Ryan & Walter, Barbara F., 2013. "The Gender Citation Gap in International Relations," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 67(04), pages 889-922, October.
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    More about this item


    Economists; Conference; Preferences; Gender Differences;

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • B54 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Feminist Economics

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