Gender Differences in Competition: Evidence from US Congressional Elections
Daniel B. Jones, Lise Vesterlund, and Randall Walsh
We test how a change in the competitiveness of a Congressional district impacts the gender composition of candidates for elections in that district, focusing in particular on whether fewer female candidates are observed in more competitive districts. We find that when districts become more competitive, fewer women enter the race. Competitiveness may impact female candidates’ entry decisions for (at least) two broad reasons. First, existing work from other settings documents that women are more likely than men to avoid competitive environments. Second, it is well documented that parties are more likely to recruit and encourage male candidates for House elections. It is possible that this tendency is greater in more competitive elections. We attempt to disentangle these two mechanisms. Our preliminary evidence mostly points away from the party recruitment channel as an explanation.
Location and Address
4500 WW Posvar Hall