Analyzing survey data from 17 Latin American countries, this study investigates the extent to which citizens’ preferences for leaders of a specific gender vary in response to economic hardship, corruption, and crime. Previous research, mostly undertaken in the advanced democracies, provides conflicting theories about the causal relationship between exposure to adversity and favoring either male or female political leaders. Despite their different assumptions, these theories each advance the view that citizens who are facing serious hardship will be more likely to favor leaders of a specific gender. Contrary to these expectations, my results indicate that neither personal nor society-level hardships are influencing what citizens think about female political leadership in Latin America. Moreover, experiencing adversity also has only minimal and inconsistent effects on perceptions of gendered issue ownership. These findings hold across different types of hardship and for societies where women leaders have presided over well-received or highly unpopular presidential administrations.


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pp. 189-219
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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