Kendall Funk, Ph.D.

Arizona State University

City: Phoenix, Arizona

Country: United States

About Me:

Hi! I am an Assistant Professor in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Arizona State University. I conduct research on gender and representation, mostly in the context of local governments in Latin America. Check out my website for more information and to see a current list of my publications or contact me at 

Research Interests

Comparative Political Institutions

Gender and Politics

Latin American And Caribbean Politics

Public Administration

Representation and Electoral Systems


Specific Areas of Interest

Gender & Institutions

Women's Political Representation

Local Governance

Women And Elections

Gender Stereotypes

Women Candidates


Journal Articles:

(2018) Representative Budgeting: Women Mayors and the Composition of Spending in Local Governments (w/ Andy Philips), Political Research Quarterly

Tags: Gender and Politics, Research Methods & Research Design, Public Policy

Abstract: One potential consequence of increasing women’s numeric representation is that women elected officials will behave differently than their men counterparts and improve women’s substantive representation. This study examines whether electing women to local offices changes how local government expenditures are allocated in ways that benefit women. Using compositional expenditure data from over 5,400 Brazilian municipalities over eight years, we find significant differences in the ways men and women mayors allocate government expenditures. Our findings indicate that women mayors spend more on traditionally feminine issues, and less on traditionally masculine issues, relative to men mayors. In regards to specific policy areas, we find that women spend more on women’s issues, including education, healthcare, and social assistance, and less on masculine issues, including transportation and urban development, relative to men mayors. We further find that women’s legislative representation significantly influences the allocation of expenditures as a larger percentage of women councilors increases spending on traditionally feminine issues, as well as education, healthcare, and social assistance, relative to other policy issues. These findings indicate that women local elected officials improve women’s substantive representation by allocating a larger percentage of expenditures to issues that have historically and continue to concern women in Brazil.

(2018) Leading Toward Equality: The Effect of Women Mayors on Gender Equality in Local Bureaucracies (w/ Thiago Silva and Maria Escobar-Lemmon), Politics Groups and Identities

Tags: Gender and Politics, Bureaucracy, Public Administration

Abstract: Do women elected officials contribute to the creation of public sector workforces that are more representative of the populations they serve? A more representative bureaucracy is expected to produce better outcomes, and thus understanding the role that elected leadership plays in diversifying the bureaucracy is important. Using data from over 5000 Brazilian municipalities from 2001 to 2012, we examine whether the election of women mayors leads to the formation of municipal executive bureaucracies that are more representative in terms of gender. In addition, we test whether the presence of a woman mayor leads to increased wages for women bureaucrats and smaller wage gaps between men and women bureaucrats. We find that while women mayors do not increase women’s numerical representation in the municipal executive bureaucracy, they do contribute to the creation of bureaucracies with fewer gender inequalities. Electing a woman mayor increases the average wages of women bureaucrats and decreases the gender wage gap in the bureaucracy. These findings suggest that women mayors advocate for the promotion of women to leadership positions and reduce the gap between men’s and women’s ranks in the bureaucracy since the salaries of Brazilian civil servants are linked to their positions.

(2017) Still Left Behind? Gender, Political Parties, and the Pink Tide (w/ Magda Hinojosa and Jennifer Piscopo), Social Politics

Tags: Political Parties and Interest Groups, Gender and Politics, Elections, Election Administration, and Voting Behavior

Abstract: We test whether women’s representation benefited from the left’s dominance in Latin America during the “pink tide”. We find that left governments did not strengthen quota laws more than right governments. Further, after controlling for confounding factors, we find that left parties did not nominate or elect more women. Rather, we find the decision environment shapes parties’ choices about women candidates: when citizens distrust political parties, parties nominate more women, but when citizens evaluate the economy poorly, and when parties face many challengers, they nominate more men. Thus, the decision environments in which parties operate overshadow the effects of ideology.

(2017) The Impact of Committee Composition and Agendas on Women's Participation: Evidence from a Legislature with Near Numerical Equality (w/ Laura Morales and Michelle Taylor-Robinson), Politics & Gender

Tags: Legislative Politics, Gender and Politics, Latin American And Caribbean Politics

Abstract: Previous studies of women's participation in legislative debates could not disentangle the possible effect of institutionalized gender discrimination from the effect of gendered patterns because of women lacking seniority and leadership posts. Costa Rica's Legislative Assembly offers an opportunity to control for seniority and leadership. The prohibition on immediate reelection means that no legislators have seniority. The country's successful gender quota, presence of an equal number of men and women committee presidents, and election of the first woman president in 2010 all point to women having relatively equal access to formal positions of power. In this context, unequal debate participation between men and women legislators would indicate that it is very difficult to change the gendered nature of an institution. We use multilevel modeling to analyze repeated observations of individual-level participation in three of six standing committees during the 2010–14 term (Agriculture, Economics, and Social Issues) to explore differences in patterns of participation under various conditions (sex ratios, discussion topics, sex of committee leaders). Findings indicate that women are active participants in committees with both stereotypically feminine and masculine policy jurisdictions, but also that women are more active when the gender composition of the committee is less skewed.

(2017) Women and Public Administration in Comparative Perspective: The Case of Representation in Brazilian Local Governments (w/ Ken Meier), Administration & Society

Tags: Public Administration, Public Policy, Urban Politics

Abstract: This article explores two questions related to whether passive representation leads to active representation using Brazilian municipal data: Does electing women to public office increase the proportion of women in public administration? Does the representation of women in elected office and public administration lead to better representation of women’s interests? Results suggest that women elected leaders increase the probability that women will be appointed to head public agencies, and through these agency heads they indirectly affect representation in other administrative positions. In addition, women elected officials and public administrators are also associated with the adoption of more women-friendly policies.

(2015) Gendered Governing? Women's Leadership Styles and Participatory Institutions in Brazil, Political Research Quarterly

Tags: Political Participation, Gender and Politics, Public Policy

Abstract: Previous research argues that the leadership styles of men and women differ significantly, with women’s styles being more inclusive and participatory. I test this argument by examining whether women elected officials are more likely to increase citizen participation using data on the adoption of two different types of participatory institutions in Brazilian municipalities: participatory budgeting and participatory policy councils. Results suggest that women leaders are not inherently more participatory than men. Rather, the decision to initiate participation in a certain policy area appears to be a strategic choice. Mayors of both genders are likely to initiate participation in policy areas that appeal to constituents of the opposite gender and counter stereotypes: men are more likely to adopt participatory councils for women’s rights, children’s rights, and health care, while women are more likely to adopt a council for sports. These findings suggest that women’s styles of leadership are not inherently more inclusive than men’s. It appears that strategy, rather than style, likely determines whether a leader will be more inclusive.

(2014) Gender Balance in Committees and How it Impacts Participation: Evidence from Costa Rica's Legislative Assembly (w/ Michelle Taylor-Robinson), Uruguayan Journal of Political Science

Tags: Legislative Politics, Comparative Political Institutions, Gender and Politics

Abstract: We examine participation by women and men in legislatures in a critical case. Previous studies found that women often participate less than men in committee hearings and plenary debates. Yet these studies were conducted in cases where women held a fairly small share of seats and generally did not hold leadership positions or have seniority –factors expected to decrease participation. We use data from the Costa Rican Legislative Assembly (2010-2012) to assess whether women still participate less than men when placed in conditions of (near) institutional equality. Costa Rica has a successful 40% gender quota, a woman president, and no immediate reelection to the Assembly so all deputies lack seniority, thus many sex barriers have been broken in Costa Rican politics. In this apparently favorable environment, do women deputies participate equally with men? We answer this question using data from two standing committees, which offer variance on the percentage of women in attendance at each session. Empirical findings suggest that women participate as much as men in committee, even when the number of women on the committee is few. We also find that committee leaders are very active participants, which underscores the importance for women of obtaining committee leadership positions.

Book Chapters:

(2018) Women's Representation in Subnational Governments: Replicating National Institutions or Forging a Unique Path? (w/ Maria Escobar-Lemmon), Oxford University Press

Tags: Urban Politics, Comparative Political Institutions, Latin American And Caribbean Politics

Peer-reviewed book chapter published in Women, Representation, and Politics in Latin America, ed. Leslie Schwindt-Bayer. Abstract: Maria Escobar-Lemmon and Kendall Funk present original data on subnational legislatures and executives in Latin America. Women’s representation at this level has not increased much over time. The causes of different levels of representation of women and men vary across level and type of office, but institutions and cross-arena diffusion are key explanations. Escobar-Lemmon and Funk show that women in local executive and legislative offices have worked to promote gender equality and women’s issues and worked to transform political arenas in ways that make them less biased toward women. They do, however, point out some significant challenges for gender equality in subnational politics—women are not getting into local executive offices to the same extent as they are legislative offices, subnational party politics has not been friendly to women, and gender balance is far from assured in local judiciaries and bureaucracies.

(2017) Experiments and the Classical Roots of Public Administration: Comments on the Potential Utility of Experiments for Contemporary Public Management (w/ Ken Meier), Cambridge University Press

Tags: Experimental Research, Public Administration, Research Methods & Research Design

Book chapter in Experiments in Public Administration Research: Challenges and Contributions, eds. Oliver James, Sebastian Jilke, and Gregg Van Ryzin. Abstract: This essay seeks to set the current experimental movement in public administration research within the context of classical public management with three objectives in mind. First, through an examination of early work, the essay demonstrates that public administration has always accepted experimental work as a central and legitimate approach to public management research. The absence of a large body of experimental work in public administration for much of the twentieth century, as a result, is highly ironic. Second, current experimental work has been greatly influenced by developments in the scientific design of experiments and its focus on randomization, control groups, precise measurement, and the examination of the psychological micro-theory behind behavioural actions. Early work might even be more accurately characterized as quasi-experiments rather than true, randomized experiments. Third, the initial quasi-experimental work of early public management is used to provide some suggestions of fruitful areas for current empirical work.

Media Appearances:

Blog Posts:

(2017) Global Government Forum

Electing women can boost gender equality in both appointments and policies, research finds