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Bias at the Ballot Box? Testing Whether Candidates' Gender Affects Their Vote

  • Amy King
  • Andrew Leigh

Using data from all elections to the Australian House of Representatives between 1903 and 2004, we examine the relationship between candidates’ gender and their share of the vote. We find that the vote share of female candidates is 0.6 percentage points smaller than that of male candidates (for major parties, the gap widens to 1½ percentage points), but find little evidence that the party preselection system is responsible for the voting bias against women. Over time, the gap between male and female candidates has shrunk considerably as a result of changes in social norms (as proxied by the gender pay gap and attitudinal data) and the share of female candidates running nationwide. We find little evidence that party-based affirmative action policies have reduced the gender penalty against female candidates.

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File URL: https://www.cbe.anu.edu.au/researchpapers/cepr/DP625.pdf
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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 625.

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Date of creation: Nov 2009
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Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:625
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  1. Jeffrey Milyo & Samanth Schosberg, 1998. "Gender Bias and Selection Bias in House Elections," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 9809, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  2. Andrew Leigh, 2005. "Economic Voting And Electoral Behavior: How Do Individual, Local, And National Factors Affect The Partisan Choice?," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17, pages 265-296, 07.
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