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Yakity-Yak: Who Talks Back? An Email Experiment

Victor Brajer and Andrew Gill
Social Science Quarterly
Vol. 91, No. 4 (DECEMBER 2010), pp. 1007-1024
Published by: Wiley
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42956445
Page Count: 18
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Yakity-Yak: Who Talks Back? An Email Experiment
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Abstract

Objective. We extend the scope of the often-asked question "who talks more—men or women?" by analyzing gender differences in talking via electronic communication. We do this by conducting a controlled experiment to elicit email communications and personal characteristics from a sample of college students. Methods. An integration of the disparate fields of communications, education, women's studies, and economics guides our approach, which uses multivariate regression to explain word counts from our electronic survey. Results. We find a positive and significant effect of being female on number of words used, especially when communication is with a female professor, consistent with a female role model hypothesis. Conclusion. Overall, we find that women "talk" more than men—sometimes. The results depend on the topic of conversation and to whom they are talking. Electronic communications may level the playing field, or even give females an advantage, in certain communication situations.

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