Gender Bias and Central Bank Communication: Do Americans Trust Female Policy Makers?
39 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2022 Last revised: 3 Nov 2022
Date Written: August 9, 2022
Modern economic policy-making requires effective communication. In central banking, communication helps central bankers shape public expectations about the economy and the central bank’s capacity to manage it. To be effective, central bankers must project expertise and, often, a commitment to fighting inflation. However, those attributes are often male-coded, which may undermine female central bankers. We use a novel exper- iment to assess gender bias when the US Federal Reserve engages the general public. Our findings suggest significant bias, especially among men. Messaging associated with female central bankers was less able to influence men’s optimism about the economic future, their trust in the Federal Reserve, their sense of others’ trust in the Federal Reserve, and when we presented the female central banker without credentials, their concern about inflation. These findings illustrate female leaders’ uphill battle to be effective on the job and may help explain women’s absence from public-facing central bank positions.
Keywords: Gender, Bias, US Federal Reserve, Central Bank Communication, Survey Experiment
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