How to Elect More Women: Gender and Candidate Success in a Field Experiment

Date: 

Thursday, October 20, 2016, 11:40am to 1:00pm

Location: 

WAPPP Cason Seminar Room, Taubman 102

Jessica Robinson Preece, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Brigham Young University; Co-director, Gender and Civic Engagement Lab

Women are dramatically underrepresented in legislative bodies (supply), and most scholars agree that the greatest limiting factor is the lack of female candidates. However, voters’ subconscious biases (demand) may also play a role, particularly among conservatives. In this seminar, Jessica Preece discusses her findings from a field experiment conducted in partnership with a state Republican Party. She finds that party leaders’ efforts to increase both supply and demand (especially both together) result in a greater number of women elected as delegates to the statewide nominating convention. Her field experiment shows that simple interventions from party leaders can influence the behavior of candidates and voters, which ultimately leads to a substantial increase in women’s electoral success.