Amanda Clayton, Ph.D.

Vanderbilt University

Country: United States (Tennessee)

Research Interests

Gender and Politics

Experimental Research

Representation and Electoral Systems

African Politics

My Research:

My research concerns questions of political representation with a focus on gender and politics and a regional concentration in sub-Saharan Africa. One research track examines how quotas for women in politics affect the representative process. This agenda includes measuring the effects of electoral gender quotas across multiple dimensions, including public attitudes and behavior towards women representatives, legislative behavior, and policy outcomes. 


Journal Articles:

(2018) Quota Shocks: Electoral Gender Quotas and Government Spending Priorities Worldwide., The Journal of Politics

The rapid expansion of electoral gender quotas in the past few decades has been met with considerable scholarly and public attention. Despite this, there has been little empirical work examining the global legislative consequences of gender quotas over time. Developing a unique time-series cross-sectional dataset from 139 states during the peak period of quota adoption and implementation (1995 - 2012), we test whether and how quotas are associated with subsequent changes in government spending priorities. We find that substantial quota shocks - those associated with a large increase in women's parliamentary representation - are followed by increased government expenditures towards public health. Further, we find that increases in health spending are offset by relative decreases in military spending and other spending categories. Our findings provide strong evidence that quota policies influence government priorities in historically feminized policy areas, but principally when they are complied with and have substantial numerical consequences.

(2018) In Whose Interest? Gender and Mass-Elite Priority Congruence in Sub-Saharan Africa., Comparative Political Studies

Do men and women representatives hold di erent legislative priorities? Do these priorities align with citizens that share their gender? Whereas substantive representation theorists suggest legislators' priorities should align with their co-gender constituents, Downsian-based theories suggest no role for gender. We test these differing expectations through a new originally-collected survey dataset of over 800 parliamentarians and data from over 19,000 citizens from seventeen sub-Saharan African countries. We find that whereas parliamentarians prioritize similar issues as citizens in general, important gender di erences also emerge. Women representatives and women citizens are signi cantly more likely to priori- tize poverty reduction, healthcare, and women's rights, while men representatives and men citizens tend to prioritize infrastructure projects. Examining variation in congruence between countries, we find that parliamentarians and co-gender citizens' priorities are most similar where democratic institutions are strongest. These results provide robust new evidence and insight into how and when legislator identity affects the representative process.

(2015) Women's Political Engagement under Quota-Mandated Female Representation: Evidence from a Randomized Policy Experiment., Comparative Political Studies

Do affirmative action measures for women in politics change the way constituents view and interact with their female representatives? A subnational randomized policy experiment in Lesotho with single-member districts reserved for female community councilors provides causal evidence to this question. Using survey data, I find that having a quota-mandated female representative either has no effect on or actually reduces several dimensions of women’s self-reported engagement with local politics. In addition, implications from the policy experiment suggest that the quota effect is not accounted for by differences in qualifications or competence between the different groups of councilors, but rather stems from citizens’ negative reactions to the quota’s design.

Media Appearances:

Blog Posts:

(2017) The Washington Post Monkey Cage

All-male political bodies erode U.S. citizens' trust in their political institutions.