Economic Anxieties Undermine Support for Female (but Not Male) Political Candidates

Ryan F. Lei*, Galen V. Bodenhausen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Are female politicians disadvantaged by adverse economic conditions in ways their male counterparts are not? To examine this issue, we had participants read a news article about the current economic situation. The article emphasized either economic stability or volatility. Afterward, they evaluated an advertisement for either a female or a male candidate for the U.S. Senate. Exposure to news depicting economic instability caused devaluation of the female but not the male candidate. A second study provided a direct replication of this finding with a larger sample. An omnibus analysis (N = 535) showed that this devaluation pattern occurred primarily among male participants. Study 2 also examined whether gender stereotypes play a role in this process. Indeed, men's confidence in the female candidate's ability to handle stereotypically masculine issues decreased under economic instability and this tendency mediated their devaluation of the female candidate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-264
Number of pages21
JournalAnalyses of Social Issues and Public Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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