Do Voters Prefer Gender Stereotypic Candidates?: Evidence from a Conjoint Survey Experiment in Japan
47 Pages Posted: 2 May 2016
Date Written: April 30, 2016
Voters often have certain stereotyped views toward men and women in politics. Women, for instance, are frequently typecast as being more liberal and having less leadership qualities than men. In order to survive electoral competition, therefore, female candidates may need to avoid conforming to their gender stereotypic image. However, we know little about whether and to what extent female candidates are rewarded or punished when they deviate from their gender stereotypic image. Since it is difficult to empirically examine the effect of gender stereotypes on voters’ candidate evaluation by using the outcomes of real-world electoral competition due to a multitude of confounding factors, this study employs a conjoint experiment. The results of our experiment in Japan demonstrate that female candidates are disadvantaged compared to male candidates; furthermore, they could suffer around a 5-percentage point penalty when their policy expertise diverges from gender stereotypes. This implies that female candidates face a difficult dilemma because avoiding such negative sanctions by playing their gender role may result in producing a potential for further gender-based prejudice against themselves.
Keywords: Gender, Voting Behavior, Elections, Japanese Politics, Survey Experiment
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