Women and Public Policy Program Seminar Series
More Women Can Run with Kira Sanbonmatsu

More Women Can Run with Kira Sanbonmatsu

August 21, 2014

Sanbonmatsu discusses her new book (coauthored with Susan J. Carroll), titled “More Women Can Run: Gender and Pathways to the State Legislatures,” (Oxford University Press, 2013). Analyzing nationwide surveys of state legislators conducted by the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), the book advances a new approach for understanding women’s election to office, challenging assumptions of a single model of candidate emergence and the necessity for women to assimilate to men’s pathways to office. For example, Sanbonmatsu asserts that a model of candidate emergence based on relationships and networks better captures women’s decision-making than an ambition framework in which candidacy is self-initiated. More women can run if more efforts are made to recruit women of varying backgrounds. This research also examines party differences and the reasons that Democratic women are outpacing Republican women. Speaker: Kira Sanbonmatsu, Professor, Department of Political Science, Rutgers University

Intra-Household Bargaining Power in the Context of HIV Prevention: An Application to Married Couples in Rural Malawi with Berit Gerritzen

Intra-Household Bargaining Power in the Context of HIV Prevention: An Application to Married Couples in Rural Malawi with Berit Gerritzen

August 21, 2014

Gender inequality has been identified by UNAIDS as a key driver of the HIV epidemic. In Sub-Saharan Africa, where two-thirds of all HIV-infected people live, young women are up to eight times more likely than men to be infected. Using panel data from the Malawi Diffusion and Ideational Change Project MDICP, this research analyzes the importance of intra-household bargaining power in the context of HIV prevention (i.e., condom use within marriage and HIV-related spousal communication) and risky sexual behavior (i.e., self-reported male extramarital behavior). Data on spouses as well as junior wives (in the case of polygamous marriages) has been matched, which enables for a simultaneous assessment of changes in intra-household bargaining power of both partners. The panel dimension of the data allows me to capture unobserved heterogeneity and time trends by using individual-specific fixed effects and time dummies. Speaker: Berit Gerritzen, WAPPP Fellow, University of St. Gallen

Work-Family Policy in the U.S. with Jane Waldfogel

Work-Family Policy in the U.S. with Jane Waldfogel

August 21, 2014

The American family is changing, but our public policies have not kept pace. In 1967, 2/3 of American children had at least one stay-at-home parent, and only 1/3 had all their parents working. Today, because of increases in maternal employment (and single motherhood), the situation is reversed: 2/3 of children have all their parents working, and only 1/3 have a stay-at-home parent. In addition, more workers now have responsibility for elders or other dependents, due to increased longevity and smaller baby boom families. These challenges are not unique to the US, but are more acute here than in peer countries, because our public policies have not been updated to reflect them. To meet the needs of children when parents work, and to help adults caring for the elderly or other dependents, our policies must provide more comprehensive work-family supports—paid family leave, other forms of paid leave, workplace flexibility, and child care. This is particularly true for low-income families who currently have the least access to such benefits at work and who have fewer resources with which to buy them. Why is the US such an outlier in this regard, and what might we be able to do about it? Speaker: Jane Waldfogel, Professor of Social Work and Public Affairs, Columbia University

Uncovering the Origins of the Gender Gap in Political Ambition: Early Life Experiences, Political socialization, and Candidate Emergence with Jennifer Lawless

Uncovering the Origins of the Gender Gap in Political Ambition: Early Life Experiences, Political socialization, and Candidate Emergence with Jennifer Lawless

August 21, 2014

Research on women’s candidate emergence identifies a substantial gender gap in political ambition that is well established by the time women and men enter the professions from which political candidates ten to emerge. More specifically, women are one-third less likely than men—even when they are matched professionally, educationally, and politically—ever to have considered running for office. Yet no empirical research has examined thoroughly the origins of the gender gap in political ambition or the relationship between early socialization and interest in running for office. Based on a new national survey of 4,000 high school and college students, we identify the initial causes of the gender gap in political ambition, which is a prerequisite to closing it. Ultimately, our results speak to the gender dynamics of powerful socializing agents, and allow for an assessment of the likelihood that our political institutions will reach gender parity. Speaker: Jennifer Lawless, Associate Professor, Department of Government, American University

Gender and Group Decision-Making: Eliciting and Acting Upon Expertise with Katie Coffman

Gender and Group Decision-Making: Eliciting and Acting Upon Expertise with Katie Coffman

August 21, 2014

From faculty meetings and student projects to corporate boards and consulting firms, many decisions are made by groups rather than by individuals. In these settings, individuals may bring differing levels of knowledge and expertise to the table; therefore, the performance of the group depends heavily upon eliciting and acting upon the best information from the most informed individuals. Understanding how individuals make the decision of when toe volunteer information to the group is an important first step toward evaluating the efficiency of different group decision-making procedures. Speaker: Katie Coffman, Assistant Professor of Economics, Ohio State University

Exploring Viewer Reactions to Media Coverage of Female Politicians wtih Joanna Everitt

Exploring Viewer Reactions to Media Coverage of Female Politicians wtih Joanna Everitt

August 21, 2014

The first is based on a paper I will be presenting at the ECPR conference in early September titled “Exploring Viewer Reactions to Media Coverage of Female Politicians.” This paper explores voters’ responses to non-verbal cues provided by politicians and often included in media coverage. Past research on women and politics has found that in its coverage, the media has tended to focus disproportionately on the assertive behavior and emotional displays of female candidates, yet little work has explored the implications of this coverage on voters’ impressions of these political figures despite its potential to evoke or challenge stereotypes of women and/or politicians. This paper begins to unravel some of the impact that these non-verbal cues may have on voters’ evaluations of politicians and in particular female candidates. Speaker: Joanna Everitt, WAPPP Fellow, University of New Brunswick

Opting Out among Women with Elite Education: Evidence, Causes, and Societal Consequences with Joni Hersch

Opting Out among Women with Elite Education: Evidence, Causes, and Societal Consequences with Joni Hersch

August 21, 2014

Hersch’s research shows that female graduates of elite institutions have lower labor market involvement than their counterparts from less selective institutions, with the gap most pronounced among those with children, and especially mothers with an MBA. This talk will provide recent evidence on opting out among women with elite education and examine the role of differences in preferences as well as economic factors in explaining the grater tendency of elites graduates to have lower labor market activity. We will also address societal consequences of reduced labor market activity among women graduates of elite institutions on prospects for women to advance through the professions, whether workplace inflexibility is an important barrier to women’s professional advancement, and implications for intergenerational equity. Speaker: Joni Hersch, Professor of Law and Economics, Vanderbilt University

Gender, Competitiveness  and Career Choices with Muriel Niederle

Gender, Competitiveness and Career Choices with Muriel Niederle

August 21, 2014

Gender differences in education choices are persistent, with females being much less likely to choose STEM fields than males. What, if any, is the role of gender differences in psychological attributes that have received a lot of attention in the behavioral/experimental literature, such a attitudes toward competition, in accounting for this gap? In this paper we show that competitiveness is predictive of education choices of students. Furthermore, gender differences in competitiveness account for roughly 20 percent of the gender gap in education choices. Speaker: Muriel Niederle, Professor of Economics, Stanford University

Progress on Gender Diversity for Corporate Boards: Are We Running in Place? with Cathy Tinsley

Progress on Gender Diversity for Corporate Boards: Are We Running in Place? with Cathy Tinsley

August 21, 2014

Despite rhetoric supporting the advancement of women on corporate boards, the evidence of any progress in the last decade is meager (outside countries with mandated gender quotas). Archival board data (approximately 5000 U.S. publicly traded firms) from the past decade (2002-2011) shows that the biggest predictor of whether or not a female is appointed to a corporate board is if a woman just left that board. If a man leaves a board there is a corresponding negative effect (though magnitude of this effect is lower). This “gender matching heuristic” was replicated in follow up lab studies, which also showed that although respondents are selecting candidates based on gender matching, they deny using gender as an important factor. We suggest this gender matching is a subconscious heuristic process stemming from the more general status-quo bias. Speaker: Cathy Tinsley, Professor of Management, Georgetown University

How Does Women’s Political Participation Respond to Electoral Success? with Lakshmi Iyer

How Does Women’s Political Participation Respond to Electoral Success? with Lakshmi Iyer

August 21, 2014

We examine whether women’s electoral success induces greater female political participation in subsequent elections using the regression discontinuity afforded by close elections between women and men, and constituency level data on India’s state elections from 1980-2007, We find that electoral victory for a woman leads to a large and significant increase in the share of female candidates from major political parties in the subsequent election. However, most of this is due to the increased propensity of previous candidates to run again; we do not find an increased entry of new female candidates and no change in female or male voter turnout. We construct a stylized model of political candidacy to investigate the mechanisms driving the increased share of female candidates. Our preliminary results suggest that a reduction in voter bias against women is the main mechanism, rather than an increase in the supply of potential women candidates or a reduction in party bias against women. Speaker: Lakshmi Iyer, Associate Professor and Marvin Bower Fellow, Harvard Business School

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