Presidents’ gender, corruption scandals and approval ratings
Men have historically dominated chief executive posts worldwide, and yet more and more women are winning the presidency and prime ministerial posts. This project explores relationships between presidents’ gender and citizens’ evaluations of their female leaders, a key indicator of their “success.” More specifically, do Latin Americans punish their female leaders to the same or different degree as their male counterparts for corruption and scandals?
Men have historically dominated chief executive offices worldwide. Yet beginning in 1960, women began to access presidential and prime ministerial posts, and women to date have governed for at least a year in about one in four countries. Most work on gender and the executive branch has focused on how these women access these positions (Beckwith 2015; Henderson 2013; Jalalzai 2008; O’Brien 2015; Thames and Williams 2013). A few studies have also looked at the consequences of female leadership, particularly whether they name more women ministers and promote more pro-women policies (O’Brien et al. 2015; ReyesHousholder 2016, Forthcoming).
This second body of work has yet to systematically compare women’s “success” as chief executives with that of their male counterparts. This topic is particularly relevant given that beliefs about women’s inability to govern have historically reinforced their exclusion from the highest political offices. Objective indicators of leaders’ performance, such as economic prosperity and legislative progress, are controversial (Carnes and Lupu 2015), especially since many of these outcomes are out of presidents’ direct control (Campello and Zucco 2015; Krasner 1972). This study therefore explores female and male presidents’ “success” by examining citizens’ own evaluations of their leaders, specifically executive approval ratings.
Reyes-Housholder, C. (2018). Presidents’ gender, corruption scandals and approval ratings. Serie Documentos de Trabajo COES, Documento de trabajo N°28, pp. 1 – 18.