Samantha Pettey, Ph.D.

Massachusetts college of liberal arts

Country: United States (Massachusetts)

Research Interests

Gender and Politics

State and Local Politics

Elections, Election Administration, and Voting Behavior

Legislative Politics

Specific Areas of Interest

Women Candidates

Candidate Emergence

Institutional Change

Institutional Design

Political Gender Stereotypes

Countries of Interest

United States


Journal Articles:

(2018) Female candidate emergence and term limits: a State-level analysis, Political Research Quarterly

Tags: Gender and Politics, State and Local Politics

This study examines term limits to determine the effect they have on female candidate emergence in state legislatures. Initial research finds a negative relationship between term limits and female representation. I offer a candidate-level theory and empirical approach to reevaluate how term limits affect female representation overtime. I argue term limits create an incentive structure that favors female candidates since the incumbency advantage is lessened. To test this theory, I set up a quasi-natural experiment with term limits as the treatment in a difference-in-differences test. Furthermore, I also run logistical regression analysis using candidate-level data from all fifty states from 1990 to 2000. I find women are more likely to run for office in open seats created by term limits. Last, this pattern holds for both Republican and Democratic female candidates.

(2018) The impact of gender and quality opposition on the relative assessment of candidate competency, Electoral Studies

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

Extant women & politics literature suggests males are perceived to be better leaders than females. Men are more likely than women to be perceived as competent, decisive, and capable of handling crises--all important qualities for elected officials. This research suggests, on average, female elected officials are viewed as less competent than their male colleagues. Yet, extant literature typically examines perceived competency of elected officials in a vacuum. Notably, the research does not take in to account how the gender and quality of opposing candidates may influence the perceived competency of an elected official. In this research note, we address this limitation by examining evaluations of members of the U.S. House (henceforth MC) relative to the evaluations of their challenger. We find gender differences are larger and more pronounced when we compare male and female MCs competing against quality challengers.