This paper examines the effects of gender-based prejudice on candidate evaluation and voting behavior. It uses a unique experimental design to test for direct effects of sexism on candidate evaluation and voting behavior, as well as indirect effects of sexism on these variables via the information that subjects seek out about women candidates. I find that subjects with higher scores on items measuring modern sexism are less likely to vote for female candidates, less likely to vote “correctly” when their preferences most closely align with a female candidate, and rate female candidates more negatively than their male counterparts. I also find that subjects high in sexism search for less information about women candidates and that less information search also leads to lower feeling thermometer ratings, a lower likelihood of voting for women candidates, and a lower likelihood of casting a “correct” vote for a woman. In sum, sexism has both direct and indirect effects on subjects’ voting behavior.
Ditonto, T. (2019). Direct and indirect effects of prejudice: sexism, information, and voting behavior in political campaigns. Politics, Groups and Identities, 7(3), 590-609. https://doi.org/10.1080/21565503.2019.1632065