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Feminism and rational choice theory

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 July 2011

Amanda Driscoll
Affiliation:
Department of Political Science, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA
Mona Lena Krook*
Affiliation:
Department of Political Science, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA
*

Abstract

Feminism and rational choice theory have both been hailed as approaches with the potential to revolutionize political science. Apart from a few exceptions, however, work utilizing these two perspectives rarely overlaps. This article reviews their main contributions and explores the potential for a combined approach. It argues that a synthesis of feminism and rational choice theory would involve attending to questions of gender, strategy, institutions, power, and change. The contours and benefits of this approach are illustrated with reference to one particular area of research: the adoption of electoral gender quotas. Despite a current lack of engagement across approaches, this example illustrates that the tools of feminist and rational choice analysis may be brought together in productive ways to ask and answer theoretically and substantively important questions in political science.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © European Consortium for Political Research 2012

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