Gendered policy preferences? Candidates’ views on political issues in a comparative perspective
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This article examines whether gender affects candidates’ position on the economic and cultural dimensions of political competition in nine West European countries. Using data from the Comparative Candidate Survey, we find that female candidates hold, on average, more liberal views than their male party colleagues. These gender differences vary according to the nature of issues. Female candidates are more liberal than their party colleagues on the cultural dimension, but we find no systematic differences in policy preferences on economic issues. Moreover, gender differences vary according to parties’ ideological position on the left–right scale with a more pronounced gender gap in right-wing parties. Our findings contribute to the literature on female candidates and on the impact of women in politics more broadly.
Keywordsgender gap electoral candidates policy preferences West European politics
We thank Joscha Legewie, Mark Kayser, Daniela Koller, the anonymous reviewers as well as the participants of the "Gender & politics panel" of the 2014 Annual Conference of the Swiss Political Science Association for their valuable comments on earlier drafts of this article. Both authors gratefully acknowledge support from the Swiss National Science Foundation through its career funding schemes.
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