Citizens, Opinion, Representation

Lena Wängnerud: Cleaners from Venus? Gender and anticorruption stereotypes across European regions

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Lena Wängnerud, professor at the University of Gothenburg, will give a short lecture on Cleaners from Venus? Gender and anticorruption stereotypes across European regions

The presentation builds on a paper with colleagues Monika Bauhr og Nicholas Charron. 

While a growing body of research suggest that voters believe that increased women’s representation can change politics for the better, we know less about why this is so. Building on recent theoretical developments, we investigate the extent to which women’s perceived advantage in reducing corruption levels can be attributed to women being seen as risk averse, having an outsider status, or being specialized in the provision of welfare services. Leveraging the diverse socioeconomic conditions as well as varying levels of corruption and gender equality across 231 European regions, we use a unique conjoint experiment to show that voters see women candidates as more likely to reduce corruption than their male counterparts. However, we also show that the effect is primarily driven by women voters. In addition, we find that candidates depicted as risk averse or specialized in the provision of welfare services are preferred regardless of the candidates’ gender, while a candidates’ outsider status has no effect on the aggregate. We conclude that future research should pay greater attention to distinctions between gender stereotypes and more general anti-corruption stereotypes, possible to activate for both male and female politicians.

Lena Wängnerud's research areas are representative democracy, with a particular focus on issues of women's political influence and gender equality, and gender and corruption, with a particular focus on conditions in Europe.


The CORE Lecture Series is organised by the CORE research group (Citizens, Opinion, Representation, and Elections) at the Department of Comparative Politics. Leading international scholars are invited to present their ongoing research on a broad range of topical issues for the research group.

The seminars are funded by the SAMEVAL grant awarded by the Norwegian Research Council.

The seminar will be held in-person in the meeting room at the Department of Comparative Politics. Open to everyone.