Assistant Professor Joshua Kalla has an article in the Quarterly Journal of Political Science entitled “Can the Political Ambition of Young Women Be Increased? Evidence from U.S. High School Students?”
The under-representation of women in American politics can likely be explained, at least in part, by women’s comparatively lower levels of political ambition. We analyze a co-ed, religious program for high school students in which participants lobby their Members of Congress and receive political skills training. By leveraging longitudinal survey data about the participants and a difference-in-differences design, we find that the program successfully increased the political ambition of its female participants. To the best of our knowledge, we offer the first quasi-experimental evidence demonstrating a possible means of increasing the political ambition of high school-aged American women. Our results demonstrate that female political ambition can be increased without relying on programs that explicitly focus on gender and ambition.