Samantha Pettey, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Massachusetts college of liberal arts

Year of PhD: 2016

Country: United States (Massachusetts)

Research Interests

Gender and Politics

State and Local Politics

Elections, Election Administration, and Voting Behavior

Legislative Politics

Women And Politics

Countries of Interest

United States


Journal Articles:

(2019) To Run or Not to Run? U.S. House Campaign Advertising, Journal of Political Marketing

Why are campaign advertisements utilized in congressional campaigns? This study examines the factors that influence if and the extent to which campaign ads are sponsored by candidates. Using the 2008 Wisconsin Advertising Project, the 2010 Wesleyan Media Project data sets, and original data on all U.S. House Candidates in the 2008 and 2010 general election, we investigate the candidate- and district-level factors that influence the use of political advertisements. The results indicate the competitiveness of a race, ad costs, heterogeneous media markets, and campaign contributions influence when and the extent to which candidates expend resources on political ads.

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

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

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.

Media Appearances:

Radio Appearances:

(2019) WAMC NPR: Academic Minute

Last year was a good one for increasing the number of women in political office. In today's Academic Minute, Samantha Pettey of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts examines this shift. Pettey is an assistant professor of political science and public policy at MCLA

Blog Posts:

(2018) LSE US Centre

If women run for office, they are just as likely to win an election as men. And yet, only 25 percent of state legislators are women. Samantha Pettey looks at what makes it more likely that women will run for office. She finds that while more women are running for office at the state level, those states with term limits have seen an even greater increase in the number of women candidates. The effect is even greater for Democratic women candidates, meaning that the existing gender gap in representation between the parties may continue to widen.

(2018) LSE US Centre

Various news outlets and researchers are saying the 2018 midterm elections will be ‘(Another) Year of the Woman’ and Midterm Election coverage continues to focus on women as a key group to watch. Samantha Pettey delves into why researchers expect such big gains by women in 2018 – which may see their representation increase to 25 percent of the US House – and why these increases are likely to be concentrated among Democrats.