Political Behavior

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 975–999 | Cite as

The Effects of Militarized Interstate Disputes on Incumbent Voting Across Genders

  • Shane P. SinghEmail author
  • Jaroslav Tir
Original Paper


Gender and politics research argues that men are more hawkish and supportive of militarized confrontations with foreign foes, while women ostensibly prefer more diplomatic approaches. This suggests that, after a militarized confrontation with a foreign power, women’s likelihood of voting for the incumbent will both decrease and be lower than that of men. Our individual-level, cross-national examinations cover 87 elections in 40 countries, 1996–2011, and show only some support for such notions. Women punish incumbents when their country is targeted in a low-hostility militarized interstate dispute (MID) or when their country is the initiator of a high-hostility MID. The low-hostility MID initiation and high-hostility MID targeting scenarios, meanwhile, prompt women to be more likely to vote for the incumbent. Importantly, men’s reactions rarely differ from women’s, casting doubt on the existence of a gender gap in electoral responses to international conflict.


Voting behavior Gender Conflict Diversion Rally 



Previous versions of this paper were presented at the 2016 Meetings of the Southern Political Science Association in San Juan and at the 2017 Pan-European Conference on International Relations in Barcelona. We thank Erin Cassese, Kelly Kadera, T. Clifton Morgan, and Sarah Shair-Rosenfield for helpful comments. We also thank Maureen Bailey for research assistance.

Supplementary material

11109_2018_9479_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (720 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 720 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of International AffairsUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of Colorado BoulderBoulderUSA

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