Theses Doctoral

The Political Behavior of the Underrepresented

Rubio, Julia Maria

This dissertation contributes to understanding the political behavior of two underrepresented groups: women and ethnoracial minorities. It explores how these groups' political behavior and beliefs are associated with existent gaps in representation. Each chapter approaches a different aspect concerning this common problem.

Chapter 1 inquires about the mechanisms assumed to link descriptive and substantive representation for women. By analyzing the combination of electoral data segregated by gender in Ecuador with census data and the results of an original candidates' survey, I confirm the existence of a `gender affinity vote' and the importance of the type of female candidate for understanding gender gaps in support for women candidates.

Chapter 2 presents the results of two survey experiments that study how gender stereotypes affect political behavior at the mass level. It identifies a gendered `issue ownership' based on these stereotypes and tests if counterstereotypical exposures promote more engagement of those underrepresented.

The findings suggest that counterstereotypical exposure is not equally effective in promoting participation for both genders. Women do not get more engaged in male-dominated issues when encouraged by other women. Men get more engaged on women's issues when other men encourage them and when the invitee is similar to them. However, the interaction between the two factors has a negative effect, suggesting that seeing someone identical to them creates a dissonance that hinders the direct effects of the two variables.

Chapter 3 presents the results of an audit study of US state legislators that explores the existence of a cominority solidarity between Blacks and Latinos. The results show that Latinos are not only the most disadvantaged because White legislators are biased against them, but also because their cominority solidarity towards Blacks is not reciprocated.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Political Science
Thesis Advisors
Murillo, Maria V.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
November 9, 2022