Gender and Economic Policy: When Do Women Speak with Authority on Economic Issues? Evidence from the Euro Area

27 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2021

See all articles by Cristina Bodea

Cristina Bodea

Michigan State University

Federico Maria Ferrara

London School of Economics and Political Science

Andrew Kerner

Michigan State University

Thomas Sattler

University of Geneva - Department of Political Science and International Relations

Date Written: July 2, 2021

Abstract

Central bankers are expected to communicate facts about the economy and shape individuals’ expectations about the economic future. However, credibility in economic affairs is often male-coded, particularly around the anti-inflationary commitments that central banks often need to project. Does gender shape central bankers’ effectiveness as communicators? We approach our research question with an experimental design in which survey takers are given an informational vignette that is variously attributed to male and female ECB Executive Board members, who are in turn introduced with or without their full credentials. We use this data to examine whether female central bankers are differently able to shape individuals’ economic beliefs and expectations, and trust in the ECB. We surveyed nationally representative samples from five euro-area countries. Our results show that female central bankers capable of generating optimism about the economy and trust in the ECB, but only when they are introduced with their credentials. We also found evidence of a backlash against credentialed men, particularly among male survey takers. The findings have, in our view, mixed normative and practical implications about gender representation in central banking. Female central bankers were discriminated against - women need to be introduced with their credentials to be taken as seriously as uncredentialed male central bankers - but also the optimal vessel for information, because credentialed men were so greatly disliked.

Keywords: gender, central banking, bias, communication

JEL Classification: E58, Z18

Suggested Citation

Bodea, Cristina and Ferrara, Federico Maria and Kerner, Andrew and Sattler, Thomas, Gender and Economic Policy: When Do Women Speak with Authority on Economic Issues? Evidence from the Euro Area (July 2, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3881069 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3881069

Cristina Bodea

Michigan State University ( email )

Agriculture Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824-1122
United States

Federico Maria Ferrara

London School of Economics and Political Science ( email )

Houghton St
Holborn
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Andrew Kerner (Contact Author)

Michigan State University ( email )

East Lansing, MI 48824
United States

Thomas Sattler

University of Geneva - Department of Political Science and International Relations ( email )

40 boulevard du Pont d'Arve
Genève 4, Geneve CH-1211
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://www.thomassattler.org

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