Working Papers & Current Projects
These are some of the projects that members of the GCEL team are currently working on. Because these are working papers,
we ask that you contact us for the most current version before citing them.
"Recruitment and perceptions of gender bias in party leader support"
Abstract: Gender differences in who gets recruited by political party elites contribute to women’s underrepresentation on the ballot, but recent evidence suggests that even when women are recruited at the same level as men, they are less likely to be interested in seeking office. Why do men and women respond differently to invitations to seek office? We hypothesize that women view party recruitment as a weaker signal of informal support than men do. We use a survey experiment on a sample of 3,640 elected municipal officeholders—themselves prospective recruits for higher office—to test this. We find that female respondents generally believe party leaders will provide the women they recruit less strategic and financial support than the men they recruit. In other words, even when elites recruit women, women are skeptical that party leaders will use their political and social capital on their behalf. This difference may account for many women’s lukewarm responses to recruitment.
"The Double Bind Still Contricts: Gendered Self-Presentation and Electoral Succes in Republican Neighborhood Caucuses"
Abstract: We explore the partisan gender gap among elected officials with an emphasis on female candidates’ self-presentation in socially conservative parties. We examine a unique and rich dataset of men and women’s speeches as they campaigned for precinct-level party offices in the 2014 Republican Party neighborhood caucus meetings in a conservative Republican-dominated state. Our data are drawn from a larger field experiment that successfully encouraged caucus attenders to elect more women as delegates. We find that men were more likely than women to give a campaign speech, unless they were in a precinct assigned to an experimental treatment emphasizing the importance of gender equality in representation. Further, as women candidates for state delegate positions spoke, they were significantly more likely than men to discuss gender, home, family, and education in their speeches regardless of treatment condition. In the gender equality treatment condition, women got a boost for explicitly mentioning their sex as a reason to elect them. At the same time, women faced significant penalties for discussing implicitly gendered issues like home, family, and education policy. Discussing other, nongendered issues benefitted them. All of this is consistent with the claim that the double bind remains relevant for women in the Republican Party and may help to explain the gender disparities in the earliest stages of the candidate pipeline.
The Neuroscience of Gender, Stereotype Threat, and Political Disengagement: An fMRI experiment
Abstract: Women are generally less knowledgeable about and engaged with politics than men. Existing research suggests that
“stereotype threat” may contribute to women’s disassociation with politics. Eleven female political science students were randomly
assigned to stereotype threat or control conditions and then asked to perform 1) an easy, neutral sorting task, 2) a difficult,
politically loaded sorting task, and 3) an IAT measuring their level of association between “self” and “politics” while being
scanned using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. We find that under stereotype threat conditions, the hippocampus, parahippocampal
gyrus, and occipital lobe were hyperactivated. However, contrary to prediction, participants in the stereotype threat condition
did not perform worse or slower on either of the sorting tasks, and the IAT data showed some evidence of increased association
between “self” and “political” words. Although our data collection is still in progress, our initial results suggest that stereotype
threat is not causing decreased cognitive efficiencies or increased disassociation for women with a high level of interest in
"Quotas and Symbolic Representation: A Field Experiment on Political Ambition in Uganda"
Abstract: Gender quotas in politics are hypothesized to change society’s view of who can rule through their symbolic representation function. We conduct a field experiment in Kampala, Uganda to measures the effect priming participants about the quota policy on their political ambition. Subjects were invited to a candidate training seminar using a neutral invitation or an invitation that primes emphasized the quota policy. We measure subjects’ interest in attending the seminar, as well as their propensity to register and to attend the event. We also recorded participants’ oral free-responses to a question regarding why they were or were not interested in running for office.