When Are Women More Effective Lawmakers Than Men? Jan 22, 2013 By Craig VoldenAlan E. Wiseman, Vanderbilt UniversityDana E. Wittmer, Colorado College When Are Women More Effective Lawmakers Than Men? When Are Women More Effective Lawmakers Than Men? Previous scholarship has demonstrated that female lawmakers differ from their male counterparts by engaging more fully in consensus-building activities. We argue that this behavioral difference does not serve women equally well in all institutional settings. Contentious and partisan activities of male lawmakers may help them outperform women when in a polarized majority party. However, in the minority party, while men may choose to obstruct and delay, women continue to strive to build coalitions and bring about new policies. We find strong evidence that minority party women in the U.S. House of Representatives are better able to keep their sponsored bills alive through later stages of the legislative process than are minority party men, across the 93rd-110th Congresses (1973-2008). The opposite is true for majority party women, however, who counterbalance this lack of later success by introducing more legislation. Moreover, while the legislative style of minority party women has served them well consistently across the past four decades, majority party women have become less effective as Congress has become more polarized. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ajps.12010/pdf Areas of focus Leadership Craig Volden Craig Volden is a professor of public policy and politics, with appointments in the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics. He studies legislative politics and the interaction among political institutions, including within American federalism. Read full bio Alan E. Wiseman, Vanderbilt University Dana E. Wittmer, Colorado College Related Content Craig Volden Spatial Models of Legislative Effectiveness Research Spatial models of policymaking have evolved from the median voter theorem through the inclusion of institutional considerations such as political parties, committees, and various voting and amendment rules. Such models, however, implicitly assume that no policy is more effective than another at solving public policy problems and that all proposers are equally capable of advancing proposals. Party Calls and Reelection in the US Senate Research Minozzi and Volden advance the idea that a substantial portion of partisan voting activity in Congress is a simple call to unity that is especially easily embraced by ideological extremists. If correct, Minozzi and Volden’s findings should extend from the House to the Senate, despite differences in institutional structures and in tools at the disposal of party leaders across the two chambers. Faculty Spotlight: Improving the Way We Make Laws, with Science News Batten Professor Craig Volden no longer designs spacecraft—instead, he’s engineering a metric to combat political gridlock. Volden: Experienced Staff Promote Effective Lawmaking News According to research from Batten's Center for Effective Lawmaking, retaining experienced legislative staff is crucial to Congress doing its job better. In an op-ed for The Hill, center co-directors Craig Volden and Alan E. Wiseman say that when it comes to congressional staff, we get what we pay for.