Skip to main content

Gender Stereotypes and Corruption: How Candidates Affect Perceptions of Election Fraud

  • Tiffany D. Barnes (a1) and Emily Beaulieu (a1)

How do stereotypes of female candidates influence citizens' perceptions of political fraud and corruption? Because gender stereotypes characterize female politicians as more ethical, honest, and trustworthy than male politicians, there are important theoretical reasons for expecting female politicians to mitigate perceptions of fraud and corruption. Research using observational data, however, is limited in its ability to establish a causal relationship between women's involvement in politics and reduced concerns about corruption. Using a novel experimental survey design, we find that the presence of a female candidate systematically reduces the probability that individuals will express strong suspicion of election fraud in what would otherwise be considered suspicious circumstances. Results from this experiment also reveal interesting heterogeneous effects: individuals who are not influenced by shared partisanship are even more responsive to gender cues; and male respondents are more responsive to those cues than females. These findings have potential implications for women running for office, both with respect to election fraud and corruption more broadly, particularly in low-information electoral settings.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Gender Stereotypes and Corruption: How Candidates Affect Perceptions of Election Fraud
      Available formats
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Gender Stereotypes and Corruption: How Candidates Affect Perceptions of Election Fraud
      Available formats
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Gender Stereotypes and Corruption: How Candidates Affect Perceptions of Election Fraud
      Available formats
Hide All
Alexander, Deborah, and Anderson, Kristi. 1993. “Gender as a Factor in the Attributions of Leadership Traits.” Political Research Quarterly 46 (3): 527–45.
Alvarez, R. Michael, Atkeson, Lonna Rae, Hall, Thad E., and Sinclair, J. Andrew. 2011 “The Balance between Preventing Fraud and Ensuring Participation: Attitudes toward Voter Identification in New Mexico.” Caltech-MIT Voting Technology Project Working Paper 106.
Anduiza, Eva, Gallego, Aina, and Muñoz, Jordi. 2013. “Turning and Blind Eye: Experimental Evidence of Partisan Bias in Attitudes towards Corruption.” Comparative Political Studies 64 (12): 1664–92.
Ansolabehere, Stephen, and Persily, Nathanial. 2007. “Vote Fraud in the Eye of the Beholder: The Role of Public Opinion in the Challenge to Voter Identification Requirements.” Harvard Law Review 121: 1737–74.
Atkeson, Lonna Rae, and Carillo, Nancy. 2007. “More is Better: The Influence of Collective Female Descriptive Representation on External Efficacy.” Politics & Gender 3 (1): 79101.
Atkeson, Lonna Rae, and Krebs, Timothy B.. 2008. “Press Coverage of Mayoral Candidates: The Role of Gender in News Reporting and Campaign Issue Speech.” Political Research Quarterly 61 (2): 239–52.
Barnes, Tiffany D., and Burchard, Stephanie M.. 2013. “Engendering Politics: The Impact of Descriptive Representation on Women's Political Engagement in Sub-Saharan Africa.” Comparative Political Studies 46 (7): 767–90.
Beaulieu, Emily. 2013. “Political Parties and Perceptions of Election Fraud in the U.S.” (accessed June 2, 2014).
Brown, Clyde, Heighberger, Neil, and Shocket, Peter. 1993. “Gender-Based Differences in Perceptions of Male and Female City Council Candidates.” Women and Politics 13 (1): 117.
Burrell, Barbara C. 1994. A Woman's Place is in the House: Campaigns for Congress in the Feminist Era. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Burrell, Barbara C. 2008. “Likeable? Effective Commander-in-chief? Polling on Candidate Traits in the ‘Year of the Presidential Woman’.” PS: Political Science and Politics. 41 (4): 747–52
Bystrom, Dianne G., Robertson, Terry A., and Banwart, Mary Christine. 2001. “Framing the Fight: An Analysis of Media Coverage of Female and Male Candidates in Primary Races for Governor and U.S. Senate in 2000.” American Behavioral Scientist 44 (2): 19992013.
Campbell, Rosie, Childs, Sarah, and Lovenduski, Joni. 2010. “Do Women Need Women Representatives?British Journal of Political Science 40 (1): 171–94.
Carroll, Susan J., and Schrieber, Ronnee. 1997Media Coverage of Women in the 103rd Congress.” In Women, Media, and Politics, ed. Norris, Pippa. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Cejka, Mary Ann, and Eagly, Alice H.. 1999. “Gender-Stereotypic Images of Occupations Correspond to the Sex Segregation of Employment.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 25 (4): 413–23.
Deal, Jennifer J., and Stevenson, Maura A.. 1998. “Perceptions of Female and Male Managers in the 1990s: Plus ça change...” Sex Roles 38 (3–4): 287300.
Delli Carpini, Michael X., and Fuchs, Ester R.. 1993. “The Year of the Woman? Candidates, Voters and the 1992 Elections.” Political Science Quarterly 108 (1): 2936.
Desposato, Scott, and Norrander, Barbara. 2009. “The Gender Gap in Latin America: Contextual and Individual Influences on Gender and Political Participation.” British Journal of Political Science 39 (1): 141–62.
Devitt, James. 1999. “Framing Gender on the Campaign Trail: Women's Executive Leadership and the Press.” A Report for the Women's Leadership Fund.
Dolan, Kathleen. 1998. “Voting for Women in the ‘Year of the Woman.’American Journal of Political Science 42 (1): 272–93.
Dolan, Kathleen. 2010. “The Impact of Gender Stereotyped Evaluations on Support for Women Candidates.” Political Behavior 32 (1): 6988.
Dollar, D., Fisman, R., and Gatti, R.. 2001. “Are Women Really the ‘Fairer’ Sex? Corruption and Women in Government.” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 26 (4): 423–29.
Drier, Peter, and Martin, Christopher R.. 2010. “How ACORN was Framed: Political Controversy and Media Agenda Setting.” Perspectives on Politics 8 (3): 761–92.
Erickson, Jerome H., and Black, Lynda. 2001. “Women Candidates and Voter Bias: Do Women Politicians Need to be Better?Electoral Studies 22 (1): 81100.
Esarey, Justin, and Chirillo, Gina. 2013. “Fairer Sex or Purity Myth? Corruption, Gender, and Institutional Context.” Politics & Gender 9 (4): 361–89.
Fox, Richard, and Smith, Eric R. A. N.. 1998. “The Role of Candidate Sex in Voter Decision-Making.” Political Psychology 19 (2): 405–19.
Frederick, Brian, and Streb, Matthew J.. 2008. “Women Running for Judge: The Impact of Sex on Candidate Success in State Intermediate Appellate Court Elections.” Social Science Quarterly 89 (4): 937–54.
Gerber, Alan S., and Huber, Gregory A.. 2010. “Partisanship, Political Control, and Economic Assessments.” American Journal of Political Science 54 (1): 153–73.
Goetz, Ann Marie. 2007. “Political Cleaners: Women as the New Anti-Corruption Force?Development and Change 38 (1): 87105.
Huddy, Leonie, and Terkilsen, Nayda. 1993a. “The Consequences of Gender Stereotypes for Different Levels and Types of Office.” Political Research Quarterly 46 (3): 503–25.
Huddy, Leonie, and Terkilsen, Nayda. 1993b. “Gender Stereotypes and the Perception of Male and Female Candidates.” American Journal of Political Science 37 (1): 119–47.
Jalalzai, Farida. 2006. “Women Candidates and the Media: 1992–2000 Elections.” Politics and Policy 33 (7): 606–33.
Jianakoplos, Nancy Ammon, and Bernasek, Alexandra. 1998. “Are Women More Risk Averse?Economic Inquiry 36 (4): 620–30.
Julious, Steven A. 2004. “Using Confidence Intervals Around Individual Means to Assess Statistical Significance Between Two Means.” Pharmaceutical Statistics 3 (3): 217–22.
Kahn, Kim Fridkin. 1996. The Political Consequences of Being a Woman. New York: Colombia University Press.
King, David, and Matland, Richard. 2003. “Sex and the Grand Old Party: An Experimental Investigation of the Effect of Candidate Sex on Support for a Republican Candidate.” American Politics Research 31 (6): 595612.
King, Gary, Tomz, Michael, and Wittenberg, Jason. 2000. “Making the Most of Statistical Analyses: Improving Interpretation and Presentation.” American Journal of Political Science 44 (2), 341–55.
Kittilson, Miki Caul, and Fridkin, Kim. 2008. “Gender, Candidate Portrayals and Election Campaigns: A Comparative Perspective.” Politics & Gender 4 (3): 371–92.
Kittilson, Miki, and Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie. 2012. The Gendered Effects of Electoral Institutions: Political Engagement and Participation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Koch, Jeffrey. 1999. “Candidate Gender and Assessments of Women Candidates.” Social Science Quarterly. 80 (1): 8496.
Krook, Mona Lena, Lovenduski, Joni, and Squires, Judith. 2009. “Gender Quotas and Models of Political Citizenship.” British Journal of Political Science 39 (4): 781803.
Kumlin, Staffan, and Esaiasson, Peter. 2012. “Scandal Fatigue? Scandal Elections and Satisfaction with Democracy in Western Europe, 1977–2007.” British Journal of Political Science 42 (2): 263–82.
Lawless, Jennifer L. 2004. “Politics of Presence? Congresswomen and Symbolic Representation.” Political Research Quarterly 57 (1): 8199.
Leeper, Mark Stephen. 1991. “The Impact of Prejudice on Female Candidates: An Experimental Look at Voter Inference.” American Politics Quarterly 19 (2): 248–61.
Mansbridge, Jane. 1999. “Should Blacks Represent Blacks and Women Represent Women? A Contingent ‘Yes’.” Journal of Politics 61 (3): 628–57.
Matland, Richard E. 1994. “Putting Scandinavian Equality to the Test: An Experimental Evaluation of Gender Stereotyping of Political Candidates in a Sample of Norwegian Voters.” British Journal of Political Science 24 (2): 273–92.
McDermott, Monika. 1997. “Voting Cues in Low-Information Elections: Candidate Gender as a Social Information Variable in Contemporary United States Elections.” American Journal of Political Science 41 (1): 270–83.
McDermott, Monika. 1998. “Race and Gender Cues in Low-Information Elections.” Political Research Quarterly 51 (4): 895918.
Minnite, Lorraine C. 2010. The Myth of Voter Fraud. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Norris, Jean M., and Wylie, Anne M.. 1995. “Gender Stereotyping of the Managerial Role among Students in Canada and the United States.” Group and Organization Management 20 (2): 167–82.
Paul, David, and Smith, Jessi. 2008. “Subtle Sexism? Examining Vote Preferences When Women Run Against Men for the Presidency.” Journal of Women, Politics, and Policy 29 (4): 451–76.
Pew Research. 2013. “Public Trust in Government: 1958–2013.” Pew Research Center for People and the Press. (accessed June 2, 2014).
Powell, Gary N., and Butterfield, D. Anthony. 1989. “The ‘Good Manager’: Did Androgyny Fare Better in the 1980s?Group and Organization Studies 14 (2): 216–33.
Rosenwasser, Shirley, and Dean, Norma. 1989. “Gender Role and Political Office: Effects of Perceived Masculinity/Femininity of Candidate and Political Office.” Psychology of Women Quarterly 13 (1): 7785.
Rudman, Laurie A. and Kilianski, Stephen E.. 2000. “Implicit and Explicit Attitudes towards Female Authority.” Personality and Social Phycology Bulletin 26 (11): 1315–28.
Sanbonmatsu, Kira. 2002. “Gender Stereotypes and Vote Choice.” American Journal of Political Science 46 (1): 2034.
Sanbonmatsu, Kira, and Dolan, Kathleen. 2009. “Do Gender Stereotypes Transcend Party?Political Research Quarterly 62 (3): 485–94.
Sapiro, Virginia. 1981. “If U.S. Senator Baker Were A Woman: An Experimental Study of Candidate Images.” Political Psychology 2 (1–2): 6183.
Schein, Virginia E. 1973. “The Relationship Between Sex Role Stereotypes and Requisite Management Characteristics.” Journal of Applied Psychology 57 (2): 95100.
Schein, Virginia E. 1975. “Relationships Between Sex Role Stereotypes and Requisite Management Characteristics Among Female Managers.” Journal of Applied Psychology 60 (3): 340–44.
Schein, Virginia E., and Mueller, Ruediger. 1992. “Sex-Role Stereotyping and Requisite Management Characteristics: A Cross-cultural Look.” Journal of Organizational Behavior 13 (5): 439–47.
Schein, Virginia E., Mueller, Ruediger, Lituchy, Terry, and Liu, Jiang. 1996. “Think Manager—Think Male: A Global Phenomenon?Journal of Organizational Behavior 17 (1): 3341.
Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie. 2010. Political Power and Women's Representation in Latin America. New York: Oxford University Press.
Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie A., Malecki, Michael, and Crisp, Brian. 2010. “Candidate Gender and Electoral Success in Single Transferable Vote Systems.” British Journal of Political Science 40 (3): 693709.
Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie A., and Mishler, William. 2005. “An Integrated Model of Women's Representation.” The Journal of Politics 67 (2): 407–28.
Swamy, A., Knack, S., Lee, Y., and Azfar, O.. 2001. “Gender and Corruption.” Journal of Development Economics 64 (1): 2555.
Transparency International. 2011. Methodological Brief. (accessed May 9, 2013).
Tripp, Aili Mmari. 2001. “The Politics of Autonomy and Cooptation in Africa: The Case of Ugandan Women's Movement.” The Journal of Modern African Studies 39 (1): 101–28.
Ulbig, Stacy G. 2007. “Gendering Municipal Government: Female Descriptive Representation and Feelings of Political Trust.” Social Science Quarterly 88 (5): 1106–23.
Valdini, Melody Ellis. 2012. “A Deterrent to Diversity: The Conditional Effect of Electoral Rules on the Nomination of Women Candidates.” Electoral Studies 31 (4): 740–49.
Valdini, Melody Ellis. 2013a. “A Stubborn Assumption of Innocence: the Effect of Corruption on Women's Representation.” Presented at Midwestern Political Science Association annual meeting, Chicago.
Valdini, Melody Ellis. 2013b. “Electoral Institutions and the Manifestation of Bias: The Effect of the Personal Vote on the Representation of Women.” Gender & Politics 9 (1): 7692.
Watson, John, and McNaughton, Mark. 2007. “Gender Differences in Risk Aversion and Expected Retirement Benefits.” Financial Analysts Journal 63 (4): 5262.
Zaller, John. 1992. The Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Politics & Gender
  • ISSN: 1743-923X
  • EISSN: 1743-9248
  • URL: /core/journals/politics-and-gender
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 44
Total number of PDF views: 237 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 851 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 24th March 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.