Gender and Conflict

In the fall of 2014, I am conducting with Josh Blank a survey experiment to gauge the effect of military service and gender on voter evaluations of candidate competency.

Scholars have consistently found that voters evaluate prospective female candidates poorly on questions of foreign policy competence. Because male candidates often use military service as evidence of their competency, we hypothesize that female military service may significantly ameliorate voter concerns about female executives. We analyze a survey experiment in which students are asked to evaluate a candidate’s willingness to engage in war in the pursuit of state foreign policy goals. The hypothetical candidate varies across both gender and military service. From this setup we test hypotheses generated from bargaining models that relate executives’ costs for war to electoral performance.

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