Gender Biases: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in French Local Elections

28 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2017

See all articles by Jean-Benoît Eyméoud

Jean-Benoît Eyméoud

Sciences Po; Banque de France

Paul Vertier

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: February 8, 2017


Women are under-represented in politics. In this paper, we test one of the frequently given explanations for this puzzle: gender bias from voters. We use a natural experiment during the French Départementales elections of 2015: for the first time in this country, candidates had to run by pairs, which had to be gender-balanced. The order of the candidates on the ballot was determined by alphabetical order, thus making the order of appearance of male and female candidates as-good-as-random. This setting allows us isolating gender biases from selection effects. Our main result is that there exists a negative gender bias affecting right-wing candidates, who receive less votes when the female candidate appears first on the ballot. The effect is sizable and corresponds to about 10% of a standard deviation in relative shares of votes. Gender biases against right-wing candidates are amplified when the female candidate is retired, and reverted when the female candidate is particularly young. However, we do not find evidence of gender-biases against candidates of other parties.

JEL Classification: D72, J16, O52

Suggested Citation

Eyméoud, Jean-Benoît and Vertier, Paul, Gender Biases: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in French Local Elections (February 8, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Jean-Benoît Eyméoud

Sciences Po ( email )

27 rue Saint-Guillaume
Paris Cedex 07, 75337

Banque de France ( email )


Paul Vertier (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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