Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2018

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Political Science

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



This dissertation studies political participation, representation, and survival in ministerial office, with a special focus on gender differences. More specifically, in the first main chapter, I explore how social identities affect political participation. Previous research has argued that political actors can strategically exploit group identities in an attempt to shape participation. However, I argue that the activation of group-based identities can have additional unintended consequences by activating group stereotypes. I analyze an original data set of historical voting records from Germany's Weimar Republic that allows me to exploit variation in an institutional setting that strongly primed gender identities to find support for my argument. In the subsequent chapter, I show that parties in Western European democracies are more responsive to the preferences of men than women. Moreover, contrary to previous work on the link of descriptive and substantive representation, I do not find that an increased presence of women in parliament improves responsiveness to women's preferences. The final chapter contributes to the literature on the survival of governments and ministers in office, and focuses on whether (and under what conditions) there is a gender gap in the survival of ministers. In order to appropriately answer this question, I develop a new flexible Bayesian frailty model, which combines the strengths of survival and multilevel models. Overall, the dissertation highlights the crucial role that gender plays at these different stages of the political process.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Margit Tavits, Jeff Gill

Committee Members

Michael Bechtel, Matthew Gabel, Betsy Sinclair,


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