Running Backwards and in High Heels: The Gendered Quality Gap and Incumbent Electoral Success Academic Article uri icon


  • The question of whether voter bias exists toward female politicians remains unsettled. Although anecdotal accounts of gender inequality abound, systematic research demonstrates that women do as well as men when they run. Previous work suggests that these conflicting observations result from an omitted variables problem. Specifically, if women are higher quality than men, and if quality is omitted from models of vote-share, then voter bias may be concealed. Using a unique measure of incumbents political quality, the authors research documents a sex-based quality gap and importantly, is the first to link the quality gap to the gender parity in electoral success.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Fulton, S. A.

complete list of authors

  • Fulton, Sarah A

publication date

  • January 1, 2012 11:11 AM