Gender & Politics

2022 Oct 12

"Oval Office" Political Training Program Info Session

12:00pm to 1:00pm


Cason Room, T102

From Harvard Square to the Oval Office: A Political Campaign Practicum (Oval Office) is a non-partisan initiative of the Women and Public Policy Program that provides a select group of Harvard graduate students with the training and support they need to ascend in the electoral process at the local, state, and national levels.

Attend our upcoming information session to learn more and ask questions about the Oval Office program and application process.

You are welcome to contact Nicole Carter Quinn at ...

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Harris, Allison, and Maya Sen. “How Judges' Professional Experience Impacts Case Outcomes: An Examination of Public Defenders and Criminal Sentencing”. Working Paper. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract
How do judges' previous professional experiences affect case outcomes? In this short article, we investigate the question by documenting the effect of judges' previous criminal justice experience on sentencing. Leveraging thousands of federal sentences from 2010 to 2019, we find that defendants with charges assigned to a former public defender are, on average, less likely to be incarcerated. In some cases, their sentences are also shorter, which we show is partially attributable to former defenders being less likely to give out extremely long sentences. The findings make two key contributions. First, they contribute to growing evidence of disparities in the criminal legal system, particularly those associated with judge characteristics. Second, the findings showcase the potential impact of judges' previous professional experience (as opposed to demographic characteristics) on decision-making. Both illustrate a new strategy in how political actors can influence policy through judicial selection on the basis of professional experience.
Schwarz, Susanne, and Alexander Coppock. “What Have We Learned about Gender from Candidate Choice Experiments? A Meta-Analysis of Sixty-Seven Factorial Survey Experiments”. The Journal of Politics 84.2 (2022). Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Candidate choice survey experiments in the form of conjoint or vignette experiments have become a standard part of the political science toolkit for understanding the effects of candidate characteristics on vote choice. We collect 67 such studies from all over the world and reanalyze them using a standardized approach. We find that the average effect of being a woman (relative to a man) is a gain of approximately 2 percentage points. We find some evidence of heterogeneity across contexts, candidates, and respondents. The difference is somewhat larger for white (vs. black) candidates and among survey respondents who are women (vs. men) or, in the US context, identify as Democrats or Independents (vs. Republicans). Our results add to the growing body of experimental and observational evidence that voter preferences are not a major factor explaining the persistently low rates of women in elected office.

Authors: Susanne Schwarz, MPPP ’15, and Alexander Coppock

Pro-choice protesters outside the Supreme Court.

WAPPP Faculty Reflect on the Supreme Court’s Decision Overturning Roe v. Wade

June 27, 2022


On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ending nearly 50 years of constitutional protections for abortion. The Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health ruling is expected to result in abortion bans in nearly half the states. Here two WAPPP-affiliated faculty reflect on the historic ruling overturning constitutional protection for abortion and the impact it will have...

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