Research shows that the presence of more female politicians can reduce gender gaps in political knowledge. Despite these findings, no study examines whether the role model effect applies to autocracies. This is an important oversight given the role political knowledge plays in increasing the use of nonelectoral forms of accountability. To test whether female political role models increase knowledge in autocracies, this study uses unique survey data from Vietnam occurring before and after a leadership change. In the transition, all the top leaders changed from male to different male leaders except for the legislative speaker, which transitioned from male to female. Results show that her selection led to a greater increase in name recognition for her position among women compared to men and that women were more likely to pay attention to legislative proceedings after her selection. These findings suggest that the role model effect travels to autocracies, although to a lesser degree.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science