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Publications
“Does the message matter? A field experiment on political party recruitment”
Journal of Experimental Political Science 2(1): 26-35.
Jessica Preece and Olga Stoddard

Abstract: Do men and women respond to various party recruitment messages similarly? Working with the Utah County Republican Party, we designed a field experiment in which we invited over 11,600 male and female party activists to attend a free, party-sponsored “Prospective Candidate Information Seminar” by randomizing different invitation messages. We found that women were half as likely as men to respond to recruitment - log on to the seminar website for more information, register for the seminar, and attend the seminar. While we found some suggestive evidence about what recruitment messages may particularly motivate women or men vis-à-vis a control message, our findings are inconclusive because of a low response rate. This first attempt to experimentally test gendered reactions to recruitment in a sample of active party supporters provides a valuable baseline for future research.
“Why Women Don't Run: Experimental Evidence on the Role of Competition Aversion”
Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 117(September): 296-308.
Jessica Preece and Olga Stoddard

Abstract: Women's underrepresentation in leadership positions has been well documented, but the reasons behind it are not well understood. We carry out a field experiment to test a prominent theory about the source of the gender gap in leadership ambition: women's higher aversion to competitive environments. Using politics as a context for our study, we employ two distinct subject pools – highly politically active individuals and workers from an online labor market. We find that priming individuals to consider the competitive nature of politics has a strong negative effect on women's interest in political office, but not on men's interest, hence significantly increasing the gender gap in leadership ambition.
“Mind the Gender Gap: The Influence of Self-Efficacy on Political Interest”
Politics & Gender 12(1): 198-217.
Jessica Preece

Abstract: In a healthy democracy, one would expect to see roughly equal levels of political participation among men and women. Yet—aside from voting—women are significantly less politically engaged than men at both the mass and elite levels (Atkeson 2003; Bennett and Bennett 1989; Burns, Schlozman, and Verba 2001; Lawless and Fox 2010; Verba, Burns, and Schlozman 1997). The political engagement gender gap suggests that some form of “adverse selection” is at play in the system (Mansbridge 1999, 632). This takes many forms: women have traditionally had less access to resources, more burdensome family obligations, and fewer relevant role models. However, emerging research demonstrates that even when accounting for many of these factors, women remain less engaged with politics than similarly situated men. This suggests that changing these structural factors is not enough to close the gender gap in political engagement—we must address the “gendered psyche” that prevents many women from fully participating in civic life (Lawless and Fox 2010, 12).
“Run, Jane, Run! The Gender Gap in Responses to Political Party Recruitment”
Political Behavior
Jessica Preece, Olga Stoddard and Rachel Fisher

Abstract: In a healthy democracy, one would expect to see roughly equal levels of political participation among men and women. Yet—aside from voting—women are significantly less politically engaged than men at both the mass and elite levels (Atkeson 2003; Bennett and Bennett 1989; Burns, Schlozman, and Verba 2001; Lawless and Fox 2010; Verba, Burns, and Schlozman 1997). The political engagement gender gap suggests that some form of “adverse selection” is at play in the system (Mansbridge 1999, 632). This takes many forms: women have traditionally had less access to resources, more burdensome family obligations, and fewer relevant role models. However, emerging research demonstrates that even when accounting for many of these factors, women remain less engaged with politics than similarly situated men. This suggests that changing these structural factors is not enough to close the gender gap in political engagement—we must address the “gendered psyche” that prevents many women from fully participating in civic life (Lawless and Fox 2010, 12).


Forthcoming & Accepted
“Gender Inequalities in campaign Finance”
Michael Barber, Daniel M. Butler, and Jessica Preece

Abstract: Previous research suggests that female candidates do not face fundraising barriers; however, female politicians consistently report that fundraising is more difficult for them than their male colleagues. Using a regression discontinuity design to hold district characteristics constant, we study whether there is a gender gap in campaign fundraising for state legislators from 1990 to 2010. We find that male candidates raise substantially more money than female candidates. Further, male donors give more money to male candidates, while female donors, political parties, and PACs give approximately equally to men and women. At the same time, men face challengers who raise more money; consequently, male and female incumbents do not differ in the proportion of the overall district money that they raise in their next reelection bid. These results suggest that there are gender inequalities in campaign finance, but they may not have immediate consequence for women’s representation.
“How to Elect More Women: Gender and Cadidate Success in a Field Experiment”
Christopher Karpowitz, Quin Monson, and Jessica Preece

Abstract: Women are dramatically underrepresented in legislative bodies, and most scholars agree that the greatest limiting factor is the lack of female candidates (supply). However, voters’ subconscious biases (demand) may also play a role, particularly among conservatives. We designed an original field experiment to test whether it is possible to increase women’s electoral success through political party leaders’ efforts to exogenously shock the supply of female candidates and/or voter demand for female representatives. The key experimental treatments involved messages from a state Republican Party chair to the leaders of 1,842 precinct-level caucus meetings. We find that party leaders’ efforts to stoke both supply and demand (and especially both together) affect the number of women elected as delegates to the statewide nominating convention. We then replicate this finding with a national sample of validated Republican primary election voters (N=2,897) using a vignette survey experiment. Our results suggest that simple interventions from party leaders can affect the behavior of candidates and voters and ultimately lead to a substantial increase in women’s electoral success.