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Personality and Gendered Selection Processes in the Political Pipeline

September 2019

Adam M. Dynes, Hans J. G. Hassell, Matthew R. Miles, Jessica Robinson


This study analyzes the different personality types of men and women involved in politics, by looking at candidates and officeholders in municipal elections. The study found that, across personality types, women are less likely to seek elected office than men are; and that the gap between men and women is consistent across personality types. However, female officeholders are slightly more extraverted and much more conscientious than males. Despite the fact that there is no difference across the population at large, or even those seeking office. This suggests that the “political pipeline” values different traits for men and women when it comes to campaigns and elections.

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Policy Implications

The study suggests that women officials may need to be more extraverted in order to break into male-dominated recruitment networks. The researchers also believe that a similar trend could be true for other underrepresented groups. If recruiters want more than just certain types of women (or possibly people of other groups) to win, then seeking out candidates, rather than having aspirants come to them, may help to ensure that certain types of women are not less likely to be elected than certain types of men.

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