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Corruption, accountability, and gender : do female politicians face higher standards in public life?

Eggers, Andrew C. and Vivyan, Nick and Wagner, Markus (2018) 'Corruption, accountability, and gender : do female politicians face higher standards in public life?', Journal of politics., 80 (1). pp. 321-326.


Previous research suggests that female politicians face higher standards in public life, perhaps in part because female voters expect more from female politicians than from male politicians. Most of this research is based on observational evidence. We assess the relationship between accountability and gender using a novel survey vignette experiment fielded in the United Kingdom in which voters choose between a hypothetical incumbent (who could be male or female, corrupt or noncorrupt) and another candidate. We do not find that female politicians face significantly greater punishment for misconduct. However, the effect of politician gender on punishment varies by voter gender, with female voters in particular more likely to punish female politicians for misconduct. Our findings have implications for research on how descriptive representation affects electoral accountability and on why corruption tends to correlate negatively with women’s representation.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:© 2017 by the Southern Political Science Association.
Date accepted:28 August 2017
Date deposited:08 August 2017
Date of first online publication:25 October 2017
Date first made open access:25 October 2018

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