Why do men score better than women do on tests of political knowledge? We consider the roots of the gender gap in political knowledge in late adolescence. Using a panel survey of high school seniors, we consider the differences between young men and young women in what they know about politics and how they learn over the course of a midterm election campaign. We find that even after controlling for differences in dispositions like political interest and efficacy, young women are still significantly less politically knowledgeable than young men. While campaigns neither widen nor close the gender gap in political knowledge, we find important gender differences in how young people respond to the campaign environment. While partisan conflict is more likely to promote learning among young men, young women are more likely to gain information in environments marked by consensus rather than conflict.
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 6, 2010
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