Nina Wiesehomeier – IE University


Recent research has shown that gendered stereotypes depicting women as more ethical than men and assuming that they will act as ‘political cleaners’ in public office may facilitate women’s political advancement in corruption environments, with gender itself then becoming a symbol. This talk presents results from two conjoint experiments, one embedded in an original nationally-representative survey in Spain, and one embedded in an original nationally-representative survey in Spain and Portugal. While the first study explores the question of how gender stereotypes shape preference for female and male candidates in corruption environments, the second examines the extent to which such stereotypes are held by the electorate when evaluating female and male politicians’ likely behavior when offered a bribe while in office. Our results show that female candidates are advantaged when participants make a choice in corruption environments, and that the honesty shortcut overrides respondents’ characteristics and beliefs about corruption. While the second experiment indicates that there is a consensus that female politicians ‘stand for’ integrity, this effect is offset by a politician’s close ties to local entrepreneurs or the length of their tenure.

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