Political Behavior

, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 301–325

A High Bar or a Double Standard? Gender, Competence, and Information in Political Campaigns

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11109-016-9357-5

Cite this article as:
Ditonto, T. Polit Behav (2017) 39: 301. doi:10.1007/s11109-016-9357-5


This study seeks to determine whether subjects in two dynamic process tracing experiments react differently to information related to a candidate’s competence when that candidate is a woman, vs. when he is a man. I find that subjects evaluate a candidate whose competence is in doubt less favorably, and are less likely to vote for the candidate, when she is a woman. In general, evaluations of women seem to be influenced much more by information related to their competence than are evaluations of men. I also find that competence as portrayed by the composition of a candidate’s facial features does not alter this relationship. My findings suggest that gender-based stereotypes may have an indirect effect on candidate evaluations and vote choice by influencing how voters react to information about them.


Gender Stereotypes Information processing Impression formation Voting behavior Candidate evaluation 

Supplementary material

11109_2016_9357_MOESM1_ESM.docx (498 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 498 kb)

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
National Science Foundation
  • 1123231

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Iowa State UniversityAmesUSA

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