Campaign promises more likely to be kept by governments run by women, research shows

February 22, 2021

HOUSTON - (Feb. 22, 2021) - Governments with strong female representation are more likely to deliver on campaign promises, according to new research from Rice University.

"The Effects of Women's Descriptive Representation on Government Behavior" by author Jonathan Homola, an assistant professor of political science at Rice, examines campaign promises and subsequent policymaking by parties in power in 10 European countries, the United States and Canada along with data on women in party leadership and elected offices.

The study also showed that promises are even more likely to be kept when women in government assume leadership roles.

Homola said the research demonstrates the importance of women playing part in the policymaking process. Voters "are usually very well-informed about broken and partially fulfilled promises" and will hold candidates accountable in the voting booth, he said.

"Women may in fact be more effective at this process than men, even when faced with the same institutional challenges," he said.

In future studies, Homola hopes to research how greater female government representation impacts passage of legislation related to women's issues.

Homola used data from the Comparative Party Pledge Group (CPPG) for his analysis. The CPPG identifies pledges in party platforms and evaluates the extent to which they are later fulfilled. The European countries included in the study were Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
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The paper, which will appear in an upcoming edition of Legislative Studies Quarterly, is available online at https://doi.org/10.1111/lsq.12330.

This news release can be found online at news.rice.edu.

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Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation's top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,978 undergraduates and 3,192 graduate students, Rice's undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just under 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for lots of race/class interaction and No. 1 for quality of life by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger's Personal Finance.

Contact:

Jeff Falk
713-348-6775
jfalk@rice.edu

Amy McCaig
713-348-6777
amym@rice.edu

Rice University

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