We thank Scott Ashworth, Ethan Bueno de Mesquita, Barbara Burrell, Kerwin Charles, Steve Coate, Linda Fowler, Sandy Gordon, Jeff Grogger, William Howell, Greg Huber, Bob LaLonde, Lawrence Kahn, Jeff Milyo, Sam Peltzman, Linda Powell, Jesse Shapiro, Francesco Trebbi, Craig Volden, and four anonymous reviewers for helpful comments and suggestions.
The Jackie (and Jill) Robinson Effect: Why Do Congresswomen Outperform Congressmen?
Article first published online: 4 APR 2011
©2011, Midwest Political Science Association
American Journal of Political Science
Volume 55, Issue 3, pages 478–493, July 2011
How to Cite
Anzia, S. F. and Berry, C. R. (2011), The Jackie (and Jill) Robinson Effect: Why Do Congresswomen Outperform Congressmen?. American Journal of Political Science, 55: 478–493. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2011.00512.x
- Issue published online: 5 JUL 2011
- Article first published online: 4 APR 2011
If voters are biased against female candidates, only the most talented, hardest working female candidates will succeed in the electoral process. Furthermore, if women perceive there to be sex discrimination in the electoral process, or if they underestimate their qualifications for office, then only the most qualified, politically ambitious females will emerge as candidates. We argue that when either or both forms of sex-based selection are present, the women who are elected to office will perform better, on average, than their male counterparts. We test this central implication of our theory by studying the relative success of men and women in delivering federal spending to their districts and in sponsoring legislation. Analyzing changes within districts over time, we find that congresswomen secure roughly 9% more spending from federal discretionary programs than congressmen. Women also sponsor and cosponsor significantly more bills than their male colleagues.