Amanda Clayton's research concerns political institutions, representation, and public policy, with a focus on gender and politics. Using a variety of cases and methodological approaches, her current research examines how quotas for women in politics mediate the representative process. This agenda includes measuring the effects of electoral gender quotas across a range of potential outcomes, including public attitudes and behavior towards female leaders, MP plenary behavior, and policy outcomes and legislative priorities. Clayton has served as a research and policy consultant for the World Bank and research institutes in the US and Africa.
Areas of Expertise (9)
Gender and Politics
Women in Politics
University of Washington: Ph.D., Political Science 2014
University of Redlands: B.A., Economics 2007
- American Political Science Association : Member
- Evidence in Governance and Politics : Member
- European Consortium of Political Research : Member
- American Association of University Women : Member
- Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues : Member
Selected Media Appearances (10)
Biden’s first foreign trip as VP was a breeze; Harris’ was into the lion’s den
Los Angeles Times online
Some of the scrutiny she drew may have had an element of sexism and racism, said Amanda Clayton, a political scientist at Vanderbilt University, who studies gender in politics and finds that women — especially women of color — are under more pressure than men to deliver a flawless public performance.
Why Kamala Harris and ‘Firsts’ Matter, and Where They Fall Short
New York Times online
“There’s a lot of empirical evidence that you can’t be what you can’t see,” said Amanda Clayton, a political scientist at Vanderbilt University. “Citizens get used to seeing women in certain places, and I think once your idea of who can lead changes, there’s more demand for it. My students that grew up in the Obama era can’t imagine two white men on a ticket.”
What Kamala Harris’ victory means for America
She could take the lead managing the coronavirus pandemic. Health care is an issue on which women politicians tend to devote more attention than do men. U.S. congresswomen are more likely than U.S. congressmen to talk about health care in congressional debates by a large margin. Around the world, countries with more women in office tend to spend more on public health, and many female leaders have been praised for their coronavirus responses in their countries (New Zealand, Germany, Finland). Given that health care is an issue that women tend to ‘own,’ giving Harris a leading role here may give Americans some needed confidence in our national response.”
‘Harris Has the Potential To Change the Face of U.S. Politics’
Amanda Clayton is a professor of political science at Vanderbilt University. Her research concerns political institutions, representation and public policy, with a focus on gender and politics. When Joe Biden served as vice president in the Barack Obama administration, he held important policy roles from the very beginning on issues both foreign (Afghanistan) and domestic (the economic recovery). It seems likely that Biden will want Harris to serve an equally active role. What areas might this be in? Let me just mention the one that will be the most pressing: the coronavirus pandemic. There may be some symbolism to Harris’ role here in multiple dimensions. First, Vice President Mike Pence was tasked with managing the pandemic, and the Biden-Harris administration may want to highlight her competence as a foil to the incompetence of her predecessor in this area. Second, health care is an issue on which women politicians tend to devote more attention than do men. U.S. congresswomen are more likely than U.S. congressmen to talk about health care in congressional debates by a large margin. Around the world, countries with more women in office tend to spend more on public health, and many female leaders have been praised for their coronavirus responses in their countries (New Zealand, Germany, Finland). Given that health care is an issue that women tend to “own,” giving Harris a leading role here may give Americans some needed confidence in our national response.
Trump Targets Kamala Harris as Attacks on Biden Fall Flat
U.S. News & World Report online
Amanda Clayton, a Vanderbilt University political science professor with a specialty in gender and politics, agrees. "Nothing is sticking – no nickname Trump has for him. He's a folksy old white man, and that's what people are used to seeing in politics," Clayton says of Biden. "So they go back to their playbook of demonizing people of color or women."
Kamala Harris and the ‘Double Bind’ of Racism and Sexism
New York Times online
This is “the classic double bind,” said Amanda Clayton, a political scientist at Vanderbilt University. “Women can either be seen as leaders or they can be seen as feminine, and the two don’t go together.”
‘She May Very Well Hold the Key to Biden’s Win’
‘The Democratic presidential ticket will not be shared by two white men for the foreseeable future’ Amanda Clayton is an assistant professor of political science and Vanderbilt. Biden’s pick is historic. Choosing a Black woman to join him in the White House sends a powerful message of respect and appreciation to the Democratic Party’s staunchest and most reliable supporter voters—Black women. Black women are the Democratic base, and for the first time they will be represented on a major presidential ticket.
The Gender War, 2018 Edition
New York Times online
In an email, Amanda Clayton, a professor of political science at Vanderbilt, described the political transformation of women starting in the 1960s: "When women did not work, they would often assume the political preferences of their husbands. When women didn’t have access to income they held more socially conservative views in part because they wanted to protect the sanctity of their marriages and shore up against the possibility of divorce lest they be left without a breadwinner."
The Senate Should Not Confirm Kavanaugh
New York Times online
Judicial temperament is one of the most important qualities of a judge. As the Congressional Research Service explains, a judge requires “a personality that is even-handed, unbiased, impartial, courteous yet firm, and dedicated to a process, not a result.” The concern for judicial temperament dates back to our founding; in Federalist 78, titled “Judges as Guardians of the Constitution,” Alexander Hamilton expressed the need for “the integrity and moderation of the judiciary.”
Why adding a female prosecutor to the Kavanaugh hearing still may not shift the GOP’s optics
Washington Post online
Research highlighted in a recent Los Angeles Times op-ed by political scientist Diana O’Brien and her colleagues, Amanda Clayton at Vanderbilt University and Jennifer Piscopo at Occidental College, studied how Americans view decisions made by an all-male panel or a gender-balanced one. In experiments, they had people read a fictitious newspaper article about a state legislative committee considering sexual harassment policies. Some were told the panel was eight men; others were told the panel was split evenly between men and women.
Selected Articles (5)
(How) Do Voters Discriminate Against Women Candidates? Experimental and Qualitative Evidence From MalawiComparative Political Studies
Amanda Clayton, Amanda Lea Robinson, Martha C Johnson, Ragnhild Muriaas
2019 How do voters evaluate women candidates in places where traditional gender norms are strong? We conduct a survey experiment in Malawi to assess both whether citizens discriminate against women candidates and how other salient candidate characteristics—political experience, family status, policy focus, and gendered kinship practices—interact with candidate gender to affect citizen support.
Global Gender Quota Adoption, Implementation, and ReformComparative Politics
Hughes, Melanie M.; Paxton, Pamela; Clayton, Amanda B.; Zetterberg, Pär
2019 Over the last fifty years, gender quotas have transformed the composition of national legislatures worldwide. But a lack of systematic cross-national longitudinal data limits the questions researchers are able to ask about quotas. This article introduces a new dataset—QAROT (Quota Adoption and Reform Over Time)—the first global dataset on gender quota adoption, implementation, and reform over time.
All Male Panels? Representation and Democratic LegitimacyAmerican Journal of Political Science
Amanda Clayton Diana Z. O'Brien Jennifer M. Piscopo
2018 What does women's presence in political decision‐making bodies signal to citizens? Do these signals differ based on the body's policy decisions? And do women and men respond to women's presence similarly? Though scholars have demonstrated the substantive and symbolic benefits of women's representation, little work has examined how women's presence affects citizens' perceptions of democratic legitimacy.
In Whose Interest? Gender and Mass–Elite Priority Congruence in Sub-Saharan AfricaComparative Political Studies
Amanda Clayton, Cecilia Josefsson, Robert Mattes, Shaheen Mozaffar
2018 Do men and women representatives hold different legislative priorities? Do these priorities align with citizens who share their gender? Whereas substantive representation theorists suggest legislators’ priorities should align with their cogender constituents, Downsian-based theories suggest no role for gender. We test these differing expectations through a new originally collected survey data set of more than 800 parliamentarians and data from more than 19,000 citizens from 17 sub-Saharan African countries.
How women’s incumbency affects future elections: Evidence from a policy experiment in LesothoWorld Development
Amanda Clayton, Belinda Tang
2018 How do women incumbents affect women’s future electoral success? Using causal evidence from a government-initiated policy experiment in Lesotho, in which districts reserved for women village councilors were first randomized and then withdrawn, we find that women win more frequently in previously reserved areas after the policy’s removal.