Quarterly Journal of Political Science > Vol 11 > Issue 2

Gender Inequalities in Campaign Finance

Michael Barber, Department of Political Science, Brigham Young University, USA, barber@byu.edu , Daniel M. Butler, Department of Political Science, Washington University, USA, daniel.butler@wustl.edu , Jessica Preece, Department of Political Science, Brigham Young University, USA, jessica.preece@byu.edu
Suggested Citation
Michael Barber, Daniel M. Butler and Jessica Preece (2016), "Gender Inequalities in Campaign Finance", Quarterly Journal of Political Science: Vol. 11: No. 2, pp 219-248. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/100.00015126

Publication Date: 29 Jul 2016
© 2016 M. Barber, D. M. Butler and J. Preece
Campaign Finance,  Women in Politics,  Elections
Campaign financewomen in politicselections


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In this article:
1. The Importance of Money in Politics 
2. Money, Gender, and Politics 
3. Obstacles to Identifying the Existence of Gender Gaps in Campaign Finance 
4. Gender Bias in Campaign Fundraising 
5. Discussion and Conclusion 


Previous research suggests that female candidates do not face fundraising barriers; however, female politicians consistently report that fundraising is more difficult for them than their male colleagues. Using a regression discontinuity design to hold district characteristics constant, we study whether there is a gender gap in campaign fundraising for state legislators from 1990 to 2010. We find that male candidates raise substantially more money than female candidates. Further, male donors give more money to male candidates, while female donors, political parties, and PACs give approximately equally to men and women. At the same time, men face challengers who raise more money; consequently, male and female incumbents do not differ in the proportion of the overall district money that they raise in their next reelection bid. These results suggest that there are gender inequalities in campaign finance, but they may not have immediate consequence for women's representation.