MacMillan-CSAP Workshop on Quantitative Research Methods: Laurel Harbridge (Northwestern), “Who is Punished? How Voters Evaluate Male and Female Legislators Who Do Not Compromise”
“Who is Punished? How Voters Evaluate Male and Female Legislators Who Do Not Compromise”
(Joint work with Nichole M. Bauer and Yanna Krupnikov) LINK TO PAPER
Laurel Harbridge, Assistant Professor of Political Science, and Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University
Abstract: A record high number of women currently serve in the U.S. Congress. This increase has led many people to speculate that more female legislators will mean more legislative compromise and consensus building. Given these types of expectations – perpetuated by media, politicians and even political science research – what happens when female politicians refuse to compromise? Previous research suggests conflicting possibilities. While some research on gender suggests that women who break with gender stereotypes (for example, by refusing to compromise) can face a backlash, other research shows that gender stereotypes have a minimal effect on how the public perceives female politicians. In this manuscript, we examine how people respond to female lawmakers who do not compromise. Relying on two national experiments, we demonstrate that female lawmakers may face a heavier punishment for not compromising, but only under certain conditions. In fact, we show that under other conditions it is male legislators who are disproportionately punished for refusing to compromise.
Speaker Bio: Laurel Harbridge’s teaching and research focuses on partisan conflict and the lack of bipartisan agreement in American politics. Her research examines why Congressional parties prioritize partisan conflict, focusing on both institutional changes and public preferences for bipartisanship. Her recent research explores how congressional parties prioritize partisan conflict over bipartisan agreement, how this approach to legislating affects the responsiveness of members to their constituents and policy formation. Her 2015 book, Is Bipartisanship Dead?, explores how party leaders in the House of Representatives changed from prioritizing legislation with bipartisan agreement in the 1970s to prioritizing legislation with partisan disagreement by the 1990s. She earned her PhD at Stanford University in 2009 and her work has been published in the American Journal of Political Science, Legislative Studies Quarterly, and American Politics Research, among others. This research has been supported by the National Science Foundation Time Sharing Experiments in the Social Sciences (TESS) and the Dirksen Congressional Center.