Will She Run? A Conjoint Experiment Investigating the Effect of Recruitment Leaflets on Women’s Political Ambition

Currently, women are still significantly underrepresented in politics, and at the same time show less interest in political careers than men. Research on political ambition finds that, assuming certain conditions, recruitment leaflets have a positive impact on women’s political ambition. Hence, recruitment leaflets may be an important resource as regards the achievement of equality in representation. To date, research on the effect of leaflets on political ambition has centred around observations on student samples. Thus, while thought provoking, the results must be held to have poor external validity. This project is structured as follows: a novel recruitment leaflet is constructed on the basis of recent findings in political psychology; the leaflet is intended to be maximally effective, designed to overcome psychological barriers to participation. Then, using a conjoint experiment design, its effect will be tested on a representative sample of the UK’s female population. Results shall be made available to political parties and non-partisan organisations seeking to increase their number of female recruits.