The (Great) Persuasion Divide? Gender Disparities in Debate Speeches & Evaluations
SpeakerHuyen Nguyen (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
LocationErasmus University, Polak Building, Room 1-17
Date and time
August 28, 2019
12:00 - 13:00
Abstract: Gender discrepancies in career success persist, particularly at high-ranked positions in business, academia and politics. Given the importance of persuasion skills in these careers, two questions arise: (1) Do men and women use different persuasion tactics and (2) are they evaluated differently? To unravel, if any, the existence and magnitude of systematic gender differences in speeches and their evaluations, this research examines a novel data set of 1517 verbatim transcribed debate speeches (approximately 2.3 million words), associated speech scores and individual administrative data of the highest-profile British Parliamentary style debate tournaments from 2008 to 2018. By means of high-dimensional econometric and natural language processing (NLP) techniques, I construct relevant linguistic markers at the word, phrase and argument level and quantify their contribution to the associated speech scores. Descriptive analysis of specific word and phrase markers shows notable differences, whereby on average, speeches given by women have significantly fewer words and complex words, more hesitations and different adverbial intensifiers and sentiment compositions, comparing to speeches given by men. This research contributes a novel evidence to understand how the language used and evaluated in competitive contexts across genders, which shed light on debates about persuasion style issues often cited as barriers to female career success.