Original Paper

Political Behavior

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 51-67

First online:

Does Gender Composition Affect Group Decision Outcomes? Evidence from a Laboratory Experiment

  • Rebecca J. HannaganAffiliated withDepartment of Political Science, Northern Illinois University Email author 
  • , Christopher W. LarimerAffiliated withDepartment of Political Science, University of Northern Iowa

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There are good reasons to expect that greater proportions of women in decision making bodies shape decision making in important ways that are not fully considered in the current literature. In the present study, a conceptual framework is presented that differs significantly from other explanations for gendered group decision making. Data from an original laboratory experiment offers support for the hypothesis that group outcomes will vary based on gender composition due to differing process strategies used by men and women. These data illuminate how gender diversity in decision making bodies is likely to shape policy making, as well as enhance our understanding of how policymaking is itself gendered.


Gender Gender composition Decision making Groups Critical mass Gender gap