Gendering Legislative Behavior: Institutional Constraints and Collaboration. Cambridge University Press. 2016.
- Winner of the Alan Rosenthal Prize
- Best Book or Article Written by a Junior Scholar that has potential to strengthening the practice of representative democracy, American Political Science Association Legislative Studies Section, 2017.
- Featured on CIPPEC's Observatorio Electoral Argentina and CIPPEC's Policy Blog.
- Featured in the Spring 2017 Comparative Politics News Letter.
- Reviewed by Perspectives on Politics, Latin American Politics and Society.
- Also see the Washington Post's Monkey Cage (by Mary Nugent and Catherine Wineinger).
Overview: In democracies, power is obtained via competition. Yet, as women gain access to parliaments in record numbers, worldwide collaboration appears to be on the rise. This is puzzling: Why, if politicians can secure power through competition, would we observe collaboration in congress? Using evidence from 200 interviews with politicians from Argentina and a novel dataset from 23 Argentine legislative chambers over an 18-year period, Gendering Legislative Behavior reexamines traditional notions of competitive democracy by evaluating patterns of collaboration among legislators. Although only the majority can secure power via competition, all legislators – particularly those who do not have power – can influence the policy-making process through collaboration. I argue that as women have limited access to formal and informal political power, they collaborate more than men to influence policy-making. Despite the benefits of collaboration, patterns of collaboration vary among women because different legislative contexts either facilitate or constrain women’s collaboration.
Read more about my book by clicking here.
Read more about my book by clicking here.
"Defending the Realm: The Appointment of Female Defense Ministers Worldwide." American Journal of Political Science, Forthcoming. (with Diana Z. O'Brien).
- Featured on Bloomberg's View.
- Also reprinted or featured in Il Giornale (Italian), Courier Quotidiano (Italian), Formiche (Italian), Capital (Greek), Differ News (Greek), UOL Economia (Portuguese), Diario Gestión (Portuguese) Defensa Net (Portuguese), Brasil Soberano e Livre (Portuguese), Exame (Portuguese) hk01 (Chinese), Thể thao & Văn hóa (Vietnamese).
- Featured in The Guardian.
- Featured in New York Minute Magazine.
- Featured in Magazine Delle Donne (Spanish).
- Here is a summary of our article on the AJPS Website.
Abstract: Though the defense ministry has been a bastion of male power, a growing number of states have appointed women to this portfolio. What explains men’s dominance over these positions? Which factors predict women’s appointments? With comprehensive cross-national data from the post-Cold War era, we develop and test three sets of hypotheses concerning women’s access to the defense ministry. We show that women remain excluded when the portfolio’s remit reinforces traditional beliefs about the masculinity of the position, particularly in states that are engaged in fatal disputes, governed by military dictators, and large military spenders. By contrast, female defense ministers emerge when expectations about women’s role in politics have changed—i.e., in states with female chief executives and parliamentarians. Women are also first appointed to the post when its meaning diverges from traditional conceptions of the portfolio, particularly in countries concerned with peacekeeping and in former military states with left-wing governments.
"Women Politicians, Institutions, and Perceptions of Corruption" Comparative Political Studies, Forthcoming. (with Emily Beaulieu).
Abstract: Why do people assume female politicians are less likely than men to engage in the illegal use of public positions for private gain? We argue that voters may perceive women as marginalized within political institutions, or as more risk averse and consequently more constrained by institutional oversight; which could lead to perceptions of women as less likely to engage in corruption. Using an original survey experiment, we test these two mechanisms against the conventional wisdom that women are seen as more honest. We find strong support for the risk aversion explanation, as well as heterogeneous effects by research subject sex for both the marginalization and honesty mechanisms. These findings suggest that the institutional context in which women are operating is an important factor to explain their perceived reduction of corruption. Furthermore, understanding these mechanisms is critical to understanding the role of women in politics and for improving trust in government.
"Subnational Patterns of Participation: Compulsory Voting and the Conditional Impact of Institutional Design" Political Research Quarterly, Forthcoming. (with Gabriela Rangel).
Abstract: Cross-national studies of turnout find that compulsory voting has the strongest impact on participation, boosting turnout by 10 to 18 percent. We argue that in the absence of compulsory voting, other institutional factors such as small district size, strong electoral competition, and moderate candidate fragmentation may be similarly effective at mobilizing turnout. Where voting is mandatory, these factors should instead primarily influence how people vote once they are at the polls—diminishing levels of invalid voting, and consequently increasing effective turnout. We take advantage of the abolition of compulsory voting in Chile to test our expectations immediately before and after reform, in the exact same electoral districts. Using this unique subnational research design, we leverage data from more than 1000 mayoral elections over the course of three electoral cycles and across 345 municipalities to examine patterns of turnout and invalid voting. Results show that small district size, strong electoral competition, and moderate candidate fragmentation are effective at reducing invalid voting when turnout is compulsory, and fostering higher levels of turnout when voting is voluntary.
“Reconciling Sexism and Women’s Support for Republican Candidates: A Look at Gender, Class, and Whiteness in the 2012 and 2016 Presidential Races." Forthcoming. Political Behavior. (with Erin Cassese).
- Featured in Gender Watch 2018 (by Erin Cassese)
Abstract: Much of the gender gap literature focuses on women’s greater average liberalism relative to men. This approach masks considerable heterogeneity in political identity and behavior among women based on race, class, and other key socio-demographic characteristics. In the 2016 Presidential contest, political divisions among women were evident in exit polling, which demonstrated that a majority of white women voted for Donald Trump. This was not an anomaly but reflects a more long-standing distinction between white women and women of other racial and ethnic identifications. In this paper, we draw on intersectionality and system justification theory as frameworks for exploring the distinctive political behavior of white women. Using data from the 2012 and 2016 American National Election Studies, we evaluate the factors that attract white women voters to the GOP and kept them in the fold in spite of expectations that sexism in the campaign would drive women away from the party during the 2016 Presidential race. Our analyses show that many white women endorse sexist beliefs, and that these beliefs were strong determinants of their vote choice in 2016, more so than in 2012. Our findings also point to important divisions among white women based on educational attainment and household income in terms of both the endorsement of sexism and vote choice. These results shed new light on white women’s political behavior and qualify the existing gender gap literature in important ways, offering new insights into the ways whiteness, gender, and class intersect to shape political behavior.
"The impact of gender and quality opposition on the relative assessment of candidate competency." Electoral Studies, 54: 35-43, 2018. (with Regina Branton, Ashley English, and Samantha Pettey).
Abstract: Extant women & politics literature suggests males are perceived to be better leaders than females. Men are more likely than women to be perceived as competent, decisive, and capable of handling crises--all important qualities for elected officials. This research suggests, on average, female elected officials are viewed as less competent than their male colleagues. Yet, extant literature typically examines perceived competency of elected officials in a vacuum. Notably, the research does not take in to account how the gender and quality of opposing candidates may influence the perceived competency of an elected official. In this research note, we address this limitation by examining evaluations of members of the U.S. House (henceforth MC) relative to the evaluations of their challenger. We find gender differences are larger and more pronounced when we compare male and female MCs competing against quality challengers.
"Sex and Corruption: How Sexism Shapes Voters' Reactions to Scandal." Politics, Groups, and Identities, Forthcoming. (with Emily Beaulieu and Greg Saxton).
Abstract: Conventional wisdom suggests that voters rarely punish politicians for involvement in sex scandals. Yet, we argue that some voters are likely to hold politicians accountable for their moral transgressions. We theorize that both hostile and benevolent sexists are more likely than non-sexists to punish women for involvement in a sex scandal—but each for different reasons. We posit that women politicians involved in sex scandals activate traditional gender norms and challenge men’s dominant position in society, thus provoking hostile sexists to punish female politicians more severely than men. Benevolent sexists are likely to punish women who fail to comply with stereotypical expectations of being pure and moral, and the men who fail to safeguard those virtues. To test our theory, we rely on a survey experiment that manipulates politician sex and scandal type. We find strong support for our expectations, indicating that sexism continues to structure evaluations of female politicians and shapes voter reactions to political scandals.
"Intersectional Motherhood: Investigating Public Support for Child Care Subsidies." Politics, Groups, and Identities, Forthcoming. (with Erin Cassese).
Abstract: Past research shows that beneficiary characteristics shape public support for social welfare programs. Intergroup attitudes and stereotypes can determine whether a group is seen as deserving of aid or exploiting the system for personal gain. One’s own social group membership can also influence program support. Women, for example, tend to favor social welfare programs more than men, all else equal. In this paper, we investigate how race, gender, and class intersect to shape support for child care subsidies for working mothers among white Americans. Using a survey experiment that varies the characteristics of program beneficiaries, we consider (1) whether support for child care subsidies varies depending on the race and class of mothers receiving subsidies, and (2) whether women are generally more supportive of child care subsidies, in line with research on the gender gap in public opinion. The results indicate that racial cues affect white men and white women similarly, but that gender differences emerge in response to cues regarding recipient class.
"Restoring Trust in the Police: Why Female Officers Reduce Suspicions of Corruption," Governance, 31(1): 143-161, 2018. (with Emily Beaulieu and Greg Saxton).
- Featured on The International Republican Institute's Blog, Democracy Speaks.
Abstract: Recent studies show a clear link between women in government and reduced concerns about corruption. Until now, it remains unclear which underlying attitudes about women explain the perception that they will reduce corruption. Using a survey question about adding women to a police force, with an embedded experimental treatment, we examine three distinct stereotypes that might explain the power of women to reduce concerns about corruption: gender stereotypes of women as more ethical and honest; the perception of women as political outsiders; and beliefs that women are generally more risk-averse. We find that people do perceive women as more effective at combating corruption, and these perceptions are greatly enhanced when information about women’s outsider status and risk aversion is provided.
"Assessing Ballot Structure and Split Ticket Voting: Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment," Journal of Politics, 79(2):439-456, 2017. (with Caroline Tchintian and Santiago Alles).
Abstract: Though a growing number of countries have implemented electronic voting, few scholars have considered the unintended consequences of such reforms. We argue that changes in ballot structure imposed by electronic voting, implemented under the exact same electoral rules, can facilitate ballot splitting. Exploiting data from three elections and a novel ballot reform in Salta, Argentina—electronic voting was incrementally introduced over multiple elections—we provide an empirical analysis of how ballot structure influences ballot splitting. We use GIS to reconstruct precinct demographics and matching to address threats to random assignment. This empirical strategy allows us to treat our data as a quasi-experiment. We find that precincts casting electronic ballots under an Australian ballot, rather than the ballot-and-envelope system, have significantly higher rates of ballot splitting. Our findings imply that less complicated voting procedures can affect the composition of legislative representation and manufacture a more inclusive legislature.
"American Party Women: A Look at the Gender Gap within Parties," Political Research Quarterly, 70(1) 127-141, 2017. (with Erin Cassese).
- Winner of the Political Research Quarterly Best Article Award.
- Best article published in PRQ in 2017, awarded by the Western Political Science Association.
- Winner of the Marian Irish Award
- Best paper on women and politics presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southern Political Science Association in 2016.
- Featured on the Washington Post's Monkey Cage.
- Featured on the LSE United States Center.
- Also see the Washington Post's Monkey Cage (by Melissa Deckman).
Abstract: Research on the gender gap in American politics has focused on average differences between male and female voters. This has led to an underdeveloped understanding of sources of heterogeneity among women and, in particular, a poor understanding of the political preferences of Republican women. We argue that although theories of ideological sorting suggest gender gaps should exist primarily between political parties, gender socialization theories contend that critical differences lie at the intersection of gender and party such that gender differences likely persist within political parties. Using survey data from the 2012 American National Election Study, we evaluate how party and gender intersect to shape policy attitudes. We find that gender differences in policy attitudes are more pronounced in the Republican Party than in the Democratic Party, with Republican women reporting significantly more moderate views than their male counterparts. Mediation analysis reveals that the gender gaps within the Republican Party are largely attributable to gender differences in beliefs about the appropriate scope of government and attitudes toward gender-based inequality. These results afford new insight into the joint influence of gender and partisanship on policy preferences and raise important questions about the quality of representation Republican women receive from their own party.
"A Re-Examination of Women's Electoral Success in Open Seat Elections: the Conditioning Effect of Electoral Competition,” Journal of Women, Politics & Policy. 38(3): 298-317, 2017. (with Regina Branton and Erin C. Cassese).
Abstract: This paper re-examines gender differences in electoral outcomes. We consider whether electoral competition has a differential impact on the electoral fortunes of male and female quality candidates. This study uses an original data set containing detailed candidate information for U.S. House open seat primary and general elections between 1994 and 2004. The results indicate that when multiple quality candidates enter the race, female quality candidates are at a greater disadvantage when compared to their male counterparts. The results suggest that null findings from previous work are a product of the way the relationship between gender and electoral outcomes is typically modeled.
"Engaging Women: Addressing the Gender Gap in Women’s Networking and Productivity," PS: Political Science & Politics. 52 (2): 461-466, 2017. (with Emily Beaulieu).
Abstract: Women earn 40% of new PhDs in political science; however, once they enter the profession, they have strikingly different experiences than their male counterparts— particularly in the small but influential field of political methodology. For several years, the Society for Political Methodology, with support from the National Science Foundation, has attempted to address this gender gap through the Visions in Methodology (VIM) program. VIM features an annual conference that brings women together to present and discuss their research and to participate in professional-development sessions. Do programs like VIM have the desired impact? Using an original survey of political scientists, this study provides insights into the ways that bringing women together in small-group settings like VIM might facilitate networking and enhance productivity. In particular, the study finds that women who attend the VIM conference are better networked and more productive in terms of publication.
"Making Space for Women: Explaining Citizen Support for Legislative Gender Quotas in Latin America," Journal of Politics, 78(3): 670-686, 2016. (with Abby Córdova).
Abstract: Gender quotas have been adopted in over a hundred countries in an effort to address gender disparities in national legislatures. Yet, the determinants of citizen support for gender quota policies remain largely understudied. We develop a theory that emphasizes the impact of institutional performance and political values to explain citizen support for gender quotas and how these two factors differentially influence men’s and women’s quota support. Based on data for 24 Latin American countries, we find that citizens in countries with relatively good governance quality who express a strong preference for government involvement to improve citizens’ wellbeing show the highest levels of quota support. Further, whereas good governance increases quota support at a higher rate among men than women, preferences for government involvement exert a stronger influence on women’s support for quotas. Consequently, good governance quality reduces the gender gap in quota support by substantially increasing men’s support for quotas.
"Gender Stereotypes and Election Coverage in South Korea: An Exploratory Analysis in Presidential and Seoul Mayoral Elections," Review of Korean Studies 19 (2): 165-193, 2016. (with Jinhyeok Jang and Jeahoo Park)
- This work was supported by the Academy of Korean Studies Grant 2014 (AKS–2014–R31).
Abstract: We explore how Korean media describe male and female politicians in high-profile elections. In western societies, there are competing views regarding media coverage of male and female politicians. The conventional view is that biased media coverage subjects women to gender stereotypes regarding the traits candidates exhibit and the issues on which women are competent to legislate. Yet, recent research contends that gendered differences are becoming less pronounced, and some studies even demonstrate that female politicians get more media coverage in areas that are stereotypically seen as masculine issues. The 2012 presidential election and multiple recent Seoul mayoral elections offer a unique opportunity to explore media coverage of male and female Korean politicians. Using a novel dataset of media coverage from the top five Korean newspapers, spanning four high-profile elections, we evaluate the presence of gendered media bias in Korean mayoral and presidential elections. Our original data analysis uncovers an interesting finding that female candidates consistently receive more coverage than their male competitors on stereotypically masculine traits and issue areas such as politics, economics, and international issues. This research represents one of the first attempts to examine the gendered nature of media coverage in Korea.
"Racializing Gender: Public Opinion at the Intersection,” Politics & Gender, 11(1): 1-26, 2015. (with Erin C. Cassese and Regina Branton).
Abstract: Political scientists have largely explored beliefs about racial and gender inequality independently of one another; and, as a result, it remains unclear how attitudes about these two groups might work together to jointly shape policy support. To evaluate this relationship, we conducted an experiment in the Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES) in which we manipulated racial cues in a survey question about a gender-based pay equity policy. We found that support for the policy is determined by beliefs about women’s experiences of discrimination. However, beliefs about systematic racial discrimination also shaped policy attitudes. Among white liberals, both Black and Hispanic racial cues activated racial prejudice and depressed support for policies benefiting women. Among white conservatives, policy support was uniformly low across conditions, pointing more toward principled opposition to such policies regardless of how their beneficiaries are described.
“Gender Stereotypes and Corruption: How Candidates Affect Perceptions of Election Fraud,” Politics & Gender, 10(3): 365-391, 2014. (with Emily Beaulieu).
Abstract: How do stereotypes of female candidates influence citizens’ perceptions of political fraud and corruption? Because gender stereotypes characterize female politicians as more ethical, honest, and trustworthy than male politicians, there are important theoretical reasons for expecting female politicians to mitigate perceptions of fraud and corruption. Research using observational data, however, is limited in its ability to establish a causal relationship between women’s involvement in politics and reduced concerns about corruption. Using a novel experimental survey design, we find that the presence of a female candidate systematically reduces the probability that individuals will express strong suspicion of election fraud in what would otherwise be considered suspicious circumstances. Results from this experiment also reveal interesting heterogeneous effects: individuals who are not influenced by shared partisanship are even more responsive to gender cues; and male respondents are more responsive to those cues than females. These findings have potential implications for women running for office, both with respect to election fraud and corruption more broadly, particularly in low-information electoral settings.
“Women’s Representation and Legislative Committee Appointments: The Case of the Argentine Provinces,” Revista Uruguaya de Ciencia Política, 23(2): 135-163, 2014.
- Invited submission for special edition on women’s representation, Niki Johnson and Michelle Taylor-Robinson, eds.
Abstract: Over the last two decades a large number of countries worldwide have adopted a gender quota to increase women’s political representation in the legislature. While quotas are designed to improve women’s representation in legislative positions, it is unclear if electing more women to legislative office is sufficient to accomplish institutional incorporation. Once women are elected to office, are they being incorporated into the legislative body and gaining their own political power, or are they being marginalized? Using an original data set that tracks committee appointments in the twenty-two Argentine legislative chambers over an eighteen-year period (from 1992-2009), I evaluate the extent to which women have access to powerful committee appointments—beyond traditional women’s domains committees—and how women’s access to committee appointments changes over time. I hypothesize that while women may initially be sidelined, as they gain more experience in the legislature they may overcome institutional barriers and develop institutional knowledge that will better equip them to work within the system to gain access to valuable committee appointments.
"Election Law Reform in Chile: The Implementation of Automatic Registration and Voluntary Voting." Election Law Journal, 13(4): 570-582, 2014. (with Gabriela Rangel).
Abstract: In 2012, Chile passed a major election law reform to adopt automatic registration and voluntary voting. Prior to this, Chile, like most Latin American countries, had a compulsory voting law. With this reform, Chile became one of only a few countries to ever move from compulsory to voluntary voting. Since the new law came into effect, two elections have taken place. The purpose of this research note is to review registration and turnout patterns in comparative historical terms, discuss the pros and cons of the election law reform, and to evaluate the 2012 and 2013 election outcomes with respect to voter turnout and election results. We describe the background of voter registration and turnout under the old system; discuss the debate surrounding the election law reform; and review the impact of the reform on turnout patterns.
“Engendering Politics: The Impact of Descriptive Representation on Women’s Political Engagement in Sub-Saharan Africa,” Comparative Political Studies, 46(7): 767-790, 2013. (with Stephanie Burchard).
Abstract: Globally, there is a significant gender gap between the political engagement of men and women; however, this gender gap varies both across countries and within countries over time. Previous research has argued that the inclusion of women in elite political positions encourages women’s political engagement at the citizen level—by augmenting women’s symbolic representation—and can reduce this gender gap. Using Afrobarometer data from 20 African countries across 4 waves of surveys from 1999 to 2008, we employ an interactive multilevel model that controls for the sex of the respondent, percentage of women in the legislature, and the interaction of these two variables. We find that as women’s descriptive representation increases, the political engagement gender gap diminishes. This finding is robust across several measures of political engagement. Our findings suggest that the incorporation of women into political institutions encourages the political engagement of women at the citizen level.
“Gender and Legislative Preferences: Evidence from the Argentine Provinces,” Politics & Gender, 8(4): 483-507, 2012.
- Featured in the Legislative Scholar, the Newsletter of the Legislative Studies Section of the American Political Science Association
Abstract: Scholars of gender and politics are interested in understanding whether female and male legislators represent women constituents differently. A key piece of this puzzle is to understand if female legislators exhibit different legislative preferences than male legislators. Yet, extant research using roll call data to measure legislative preferences results in mixed findings. I argue that while male and female legislators are likely to display distinct preferences these differences are difficult to detect using roll call data since it is highly structured by party influences. I address this shortcoming by drawing on an original data set that uses cosponsorship data to measure legislative preferences. Like roll call data, cosponsorship data can be used to recover ideal point estimates. One key difference is that, since cosponsorship behavior is less structured by party pressures, it is more useful for examining intra-party differences such as gender. I analyze original data from 18 provincial legislative chambers in Argentina over a 16-year period of time. I find statistically significant gender differences in approximately 90% of the chambers. This study provides evidence that gender does influence legislative preferences. While this is only one small piece of the puzzle, it is important for understanding women’s representation.
“Women in Executives: Latin America,” in Women in Executive Power: a Global Overview, eds. Gretchen Bauer and Manon Tremblay. New York: Routledge, 2011. (with Mark P. Jones).
eAbstract: This paper evaluates the evolution of women in the executive branch in 18 Latin American democracies over the past decade. While many countries in Latin America still have significant disparities in women’s representation in the executive branch, other countries have achieved near or perfect gender parity. Overall, the presence of women in the executive branch in Latin America grew from 8% to 25% in the past decade. However, while Latin America has experienced a significant improvement in the gender composition of the executive branch, this has not been extended to the top executive post. Despite notable exceptions, women in Latin American still have extremely limited access to the presidency and comprise only a small fraction of viable presidential candidates. To further investigate why women are present in some executive chambers and not in others we provide an in-depth analysis of the evolution of women’s presence in executive positions in Argentina and Chile. Previous studies identify multiple indicators of women’s success in the executive, however in our time-series analysis of Argentina and Chile, we find the most important predictor of women’s presence in the executive branch is a product of explicit, albeit informal policies by the countries’ president to improve women’s standing in the executive.
“Responsibility and the Diversionary Use of Force,” Conflict Management and Peace Science, 28(5): 478-496, 2011. (with Jesse C. Johnson).
Abstract: Do state leaders use force abroad to divert supporters' attention from domestic economic problems? Many studies in international relations attempt to provide an answer to this question but the empirical findings are inconsistent. In this paper we argue that it is necessary to consider variations in supporters' perceptions of leaders' control of the economy to understand leaders' incentives to engage in the diversionary use of force. Leaders that are perceived to have high levels of responsibility for the economy will be more likely to use force abroad in the presence of domestic economic problems than leaders that are perceived to have lower levels of responsibility. When leaders are not perceived to have high levels of responsibility they do not have an incentive to use force abroad in the presence of domestic economic problems because the economic problems will not affect the probability that they will retain power. A directed dyad analysis of conflict initiation from 1950 to 1998 supports this hypothesis. This study improves our understanding of patterns of international conflict and, more specifically, the diversionary use of force, by demonstrating the contexts in which diversionary incentives will be strongest.
"Learning to Govern: The Texas Experience," The Journal of Political Science, 34:1-36, 2006. (with Timothy O'Neil).
"Learning to Govern: The Texas Experience," The Journal of Political Science, 34:1-36, 2006. (with Timothy O'Neil).
Abstract: The Republican Party took control of the Texas House of Representatives for the first time in 130 years on January 14, 2003. How did the Texas House change as the Republicans learned how to be the majority party and the Democrats struggled with being the minority? The Texas House’s painful shift from a partially bipartisan to a fully partisan chamber was not only the product of inexperienced leadership and harsh partisan bullying. The changes were largely the product of a broader process of electoral calculation and consequent deinstitutionalization affecting many other state legislatures that have not experienced recent shifts in party control.
Gender Quotas and The Representation of Women: Empowerment, Decision-making, and Public Policy. 2012. Ph.D. Doctoral Dissertation. Houston: Rice University
Key Words: Tiffany Barnes, Barnes, Tiffany, Women's Representation, Gender Quotas Argentina, Gender Quotas in Argentina