Balancing Ambition and Gender Among Decision Makers
Larimer, Christopher W.
Smith, Kevin B.
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In this article, we use an original laboratory experiment to test how people react to ambitious decision makers, allowing for interactions with gender. In the experiment, participants are told two decision makers will be dividing some valuable resource on their behalf. One decision maker (either high or low in ambition) is “appointed.” Participants vote from a slate of candidates, about whom they have information on gender and ambition, for the second decision maker. We find that people tend to associate high ambition with male and self-interested behavior and that the selection of the second decision maker depends on the level of ambition of the first decision maker as well as perceptions of gender of that decision maker. We conclude by suggesting important implications for research on vote choice and representation.