Friday, January 27, 2023
Study Shows Individual Level Traits of Vocal Masculinity Influence Corporate Executive Status for Women
John Lynch, CEOs, Masculinity, and Language"
The lack of female CEOs and the persistent gender pay gap, especially at higher income levels, have become popular topics both in academics and society. Most studies focus on the differences between males and females that perpetuate this "glass ceiling," while few look at within-gender traits that can help mitigate its effects. In this paper, I use novel measures of CEO and CFO vocal masculinity and language complexity to gain insight into how these individual-level traits influence executive status and compensation both within and across genders. I find that vocal masculinity, within females, positively impacts their likelihood of becoming a CEO while the opposite is true for males. When it comes to communication, CEOs speak with greater complexity than CFOs while both female CEOs and CFOs use more complex language and speak longer during earnings calls than their male counterparts. Differences in CEO-CFO language complexity are greater at low entrenchment firms while differences in masculinity are greater at high entrenchment firms. Additionally, while boards with greater female representation hire more female CEOs, they surprisingly seem to place a greater emphasis on female masculinity, while male masculinity plays a larger role at firms with male-dominated boards. Finally, for both male and female CEOs, compensation is positively related to masculinity, while increased language complexity only matters for females. These results help provide insight into the determinants of CEO status and compensation and may help explain how boards view and reward perceived competency across genders.