Sex and the City: The Effect of Representational Gender on Agenda Setting, Policy Process, and Policy Outcomes
40 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 25 Aug 2009
Date Written: 2009
Research has demonstrated that, at Congressional and State levels, the gender of a representative has a concrete and significant effect on the policy priorities of the representative. However, at the local level, there is little evidence of a gender effect. Using survey data from municipal leaders in U.S. cities, I find that the gender of a representative seems to have no direct effect on the issue priorities or work of representatives. I then develop and test a measure of gender consciousness, suggesting that it an awareness of what being a woman means – not just being a women – that produces gender differences. I find that possessing a gender consciousness has a significant effect on policy priorities and work, with those with a gender consciousness more likely to value and work on issues relating to education, affordable housing, and welfare, and are less likely to value economic development policies.
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