Do Women Shy Away from Public Speaking? A Field Experiment

36 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2020

See all articles by Maria De Paola

Maria De Paola

Università degli Studi della Calabria - Department of Economics and Statistics

Rosetta Lombardo

Università degli Studi della Calabria - Department of Economics and Statistics

Valeria Pupo

University of Calabria

Vincenzo Scoppa

Università degli Studi della Calabria - Department of Economics and Statistics

Abstract

Public speaking is an important skill for career prospects and for leadership positions, but many people tend to avoid it because it generates anxiety. We run a field experiment to analyze whether in an incentivized setting men and women show differences in their willingness to speak in public. The experiment involved more than 500 undergraduate students who could gain two points to add to the final grade of their exam by orally presenting solutions to a problem set. Students were randomly assigned to present only to the instructor or in front of a large audience (a class of 100 or more). We find that while women are more willing to present face-to-face, they are considerably less likely to give a public presentation. Female aversion to public speaking does not depend on differences in ability, risk aversion, self-confidence and self-esteem. The aversion to public speaking greatly reduces for daughters of working women. From data obtained through an on-line Survey we also show that neither increasing the gains deriving from public speaking nor allowing participants more time to prepare enable to close the gender gap.

Keywords: public speaking, psychological gender differences, gender, leadership, glass ceiling, field experiment

JEL Classification: J56, D91, C93, M50

Suggested Citation

De Paola, Maria and Lombardo, Rosetta and Pupo, Valeria and Scoppa, Vincenzo, Do Women Shy Away from Public Speaking? A Field Experiment. IZA Discussion Paper No. 12959, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3542628

Maria De Paola (Contact Author)

Università degli Studi della Calabria - Department of Economics and Statistics ( email )

via Ponte Bucci
Arcavacata di Rende, Cosenza 87036
Italy

Rosetta Lombardo

Università degli Studi della Calabria - Department of Economics and Statistics ( email )

via Ponte Bucci
Arcavacata di Rende, Cosenza 87036
Italy

Valeria Pupo

University of Calabria

Via Pietro Bucci
Rende CS
Italy

Vincenzo Scoppa

Università degli Studi della Calabria - Department of Economics and Statistics ( email )

via Ponte Bucci
Arcavacata di Rende, Cosenza 87036
Italy

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