Tiffany D. Barnes

  • Associate Professor
  • Gender and Women's Studies
  • Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies
  • Political Science
  • Year of Civics and Citizenship in the 21st Century
1629 Patterson Office Tower
(859) 257-4895
Research Interests:

Ph.D., Rice University, 2012


My research is in the field of Comparative Politics with an emphasis on comparative legislatures, comparative political institutions, gender and politics, and Latin America. I employ both quantitative and qualitative research approaches to examine how institutions shape elite and mass political behavior. I completed my Ph.D. in Political Science at Rice University in 2012, where my dissertation won the John W. Garner Award for Best Dissertation in the Social Sciences and Humanities at Rice University.

In 2018 I was honored to receive the Emerging Scholar Award from the Legislative Studies Section of the American Political Science Association. This award was designed to recognize a scholar who is no more than 6 years from the year of their PhD who has informed the study of legislative politics through innovative and rigorous scholarship. In 2017 I was honored with the Early Career Award from the Midwest Women's Caucus for Political Science, an award that recognizes a junior (pre-tenure) female faculty member based upon her research accomplishments and contribution to the discipline. In 2013 I was a Research Fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame. I have plans to spend Spring 2019 at Tulane University as the Greenleaf Scholar-In-Residence in the Stone Center for Latin American Studies.

In 2017 my book, Gendering Legislative Behavior: Institutional Constraints and Collaboration (Cambridge University Press, 2017), was awarded the Alan Rosenthal Prize for the best book or article written by a junior scholar that has potential to strengthening the practice of representative democracy, by the American Political Science Association Legislative Studies Section. In this book, I ask when and why do legislators—and particularly women legislators—have incentives to collaborate? And how do different legislative institutions facilitate or constrain women's legislative collaboration? To answer these questions, I spent over 20 months in Argentina, visited 19 of the country’s 24 provinces, and collected an original dataset that combines archival data (e.g., bill cosponsorship, leadership appointments, committee appointments, incumbency) and over 200 interviews with legislators and other elite political observers. My fieldwork was supported through research grants from the National Science Foundation, the Ora N. Arnold Fellowship, and the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences.

My other peer-reviewed research appears in journals such as the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Political Research Quarterly, Governance, Politics & Gender and Politics, Groups, and Identities. In 2017 I won the Sophonisba Breckinridge Award from the Midwest Political Science Association for a paper co-authored with Abby Córdova. I was also awarded the best article published in Political Research Quarterly in 2017 and the Marian Irish Award in 2017 from the Southern Political Science Association for a paper I co-authored with Erin Cassese. Additionally, I have won over $150,000 in grants and fellowships to support my research.

For more information about my book, my fieldwork, and ongoing research visit my website:


Selected Publications: 

Gendering Legislative Behavior: Institutional Constraints and Collaboration. Cambridge University Press. 2016.

In democracies, power is obtained via competition. Yet, as women gain access to parliaments in record numbers, worldwide collaboration appears to be on the rise. This is puzzling: Why, if politicians can secure power through competition, would we observe collaboration in congress? Using evidence from 200 interviews with politicians from Argentina and a novel dataset from 23 Argentine legislative chambers over an 18-year period, Gendering Legislative Behavior reexamines traditional notions of competitive democracy by evaluating patterns of collaboration among legislators. Although only the majority can secure power via competition, all legislators – particularly those who do not have power – can influence the policy-making process through collaboration. I argue that as women have limited access to formal and informal political power, they collaborate more than men to influence policy-making. Despite the benefits of collaboration, patterns of collaboration vary among women because different legislative contexts either facilitate or constrain women’s collaboration.
Read more about my book by clicking here.


"Defending the Realm: The Appointment of Female Defense Ministers Worldwide." American Journal of Political Science, Accepted. (with Diana Z. O'Brien).

Though the defense ministry has been a bastion of male power, a growing number of states have appointed women to this portfolio. What explains men’s dominance over these positions? Which factors predict women’s appointments? With comprehensive cross-national data from the post-Cold War era, we develop and test three sets of hypotheses concerning women’s access to the defense ministry. We show that women remain excluded when the portfolio’s remit reinforces traditional beliefs about the masculinity of the position, particularly in states that are engaged in fatal disputes, governed by military dictators, and large military spenders. By contrast, female defense ministers emerge when expectations about women’s role in politics have changed—i.e., in states with female chief executives and parliamentarians. Women are also first appointed to the post when its meaning diverges from traditional conceptions of the portfolio, particularly in countries concerned with peacekeeping and in former military states with left-wing governments.


"Assessing Ballot Structure and Split Ticket Voting: Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment,"Journal of Politics, Forthcoming. (with Caroline Tchintian and Santiago Alles).

Though a growing number of countries have implemented electronic voting, few scholars have considered the unintended consequences of such reforms. We argue that changes in ballot structure imposed by electronic voting, implemented under the exact same electoral rules, can facilitate ballot splitting. Exploiting data from three elections and a novel ballot reform in Salta, Argentina—electronic voting was incrementally introduced over multiple elections—we provide an empirical analysis of how ballot structure influences ballot splitting. We use GIS to reconstruct precinct demographics and matching to address threats to random assignment. This empirical strategy allows us to treat our data as a quasi-experiment. We find that precincts casting electronic ballots under an Australian ballot, rather than the ballot-and-envelope system, have significantly higher rates of ballot splitting. Our findings imply that less complicated voting procedures can affect the composition of legislative representation and manufacture a more inclusive legislature by facilitating strategic voting.


"American Party Women:  A Look at the Gender Gap within Parties," Political Research Quarterly, Forthcoming. (with Erin Cassese).

Research on the gender gap in American politics has focused on average differences between male and female voters. This has led to an underdeveloped understanding of sources of heterogeneity among women and, in particular, a poor understanding of the political preferences of Republican women. We argue that although theories of ideological sorting suggest gender gaps should exist primarily between political parties, gender socialization theories contend that critical differences lie at the intersection of gender and party such that gender differences likely persist within political parties. Using survey data from the 2012 American National Election Study, we evaluate how party and gender intersect to shape policy attitudes. We find that gender differences in policy attitudes are more pronounced in the Republican Party than in the Democratic Party, with Republican women reporting significantly more moderate views than their male counterparts. Mediation analysis reveals that the gender gaps within the Republican Party are largely attributable to gender differences in beliefs about the appropriate scope of government and attitudes toward gender-based inequality. These results afford new insight into the joint influence of gender and partisanship on policy preferences and raise important questions about the quality of representation Republican women receive from their own party.


"Making Space for Women: Explaining Citizen Support for Legislative Gender Quotas in Latin America," Journal of Politics, 78 (3): 670-686, 2016. (with Abby Córdova).

  • Winner of the Sophonisba Breckinridge Award

Gender quotas have been adopted in over a hundred countries in an effort to address gender disparities in national legislatures. Yet, the determinants of citizen support for gender quota policies remain largely understudied. We develop a theory that emphasizes the impact of institutional performance and political values to explain citizen support for gender quotas and how these two factors differentially influence men’s and women’s quota support. Based on data for 24 Latin American countries, we find that citizens in countries with relatively good governance quality who express a strong preference for government involvement to improve citizens’ wellbeing show the highest levels of quota support. Further, whereas good governance increases quota support at a higher rate among men than women, preferences for government involvement exert a stronger influence on women’s support for quotas. Consequently, good governance quality reduces the gender gap in quota support by substantially increasing men’s support for quotas.


"A Re-Examination of Women's Electoral Success in Open Seat Elections: the Conditioning Effect of Electoral Competition,” Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, Forthcoming. (with Regina Branton and Erin C. Cassese).

Access a copy of our manuscript here.

This paper re-examines gender differences in electoral outcomes. We consider whether electoral competition has a differential impact on the electoral fortunes of male and female quality candidates. This study uses an original data set containing detailed candidate information for U.S. House open seat primary and general elections between 1994 and 2004. The results indicate that when multiple quality candidates enter the race, female quality candidates are at a greater disadvantage when compared to their male counterparts. The results suggest that null findings from previous works are a product of the way the relationship between gender and electoral outcomes is typically modeled.


"Gender Stereotypes and Election Coverage  in South Korea: An Exploratory Analysis in Presidential and Seoul Mayoral Elections." The Review of Korean Studies, 19(2): 166-93. (with Jinhyeok Jang and Jeahoo Park).

  • This work was supported by the Academy of Korean Studies Grant 2014 (AKS–2014–R31).

Access a copy of our manuscript here.

We explore how Korean media describe male and female politicians in high-profile elections.  In western societies, there are competing views regarding media coverage of male and female politicians. The conventional view is that biased media coverage subjects women to gender stereotypes regarding the traits candidates exhibit and the issues on which women are competent to legislate. Yet, recent research contends that gendered differences are becoming less pronounced, and some studies even demonstrate that female politicians get more media coverage in areas that are stereotypically seen as masculine issues. The 2012 presidential election and multiple recent Seoul mayoral elections offer a unique opportunity to explore media coverage of male and female Korean politicians. Using a novel dataset of media coverage from the top five Korean newspapers, spanning four high-profile elections, we evaluate the presence of gendered media bias in Korean mayoral and presidential elections. Our original data analysis uncovers an interesting finding that female candidates consistently receive more coverage than their male competitors on stereotypically masculine traits and issue areas such as politics, economics, and international issues. This research represents one of the first attempts to examine the gendered nature of media coverage in Korea.


"Racializing Gender:  Public Opinion at the Intersection‬‬‬‬‬‬,” Politics & Gender, 11(1): 1-26, 2015. (with Erin C. Cassese and Regina Branton).

Access a copy of our manuscript here or on my webpage.

Political scientists have largely explored beliefs about racial and gender inequality independently of one another; and, as a result, it remains unclear how attitudes about these two groups might work together to jointly shape policy support. To evaluate this relationship, we conducted an experiment in the Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES) in which we manipulated racial cues in a survey question about a gender-based pay equity policy. We found that support for the policy is determined by beliefs about women’s experiences of discrimination. However, beliefs about systematic racial discrimination also shaped policy attitudes. Among white liberals, both Black and Hispanic racial cues activated racial prejudice and depressed support for policies benefiting women. Among white conservatives, policy support was uniformly low across conditions, pointing more toward principled opposition to such policies regardless of how their beneficiaries are described.


Gender Stereotypes and Corruption: How Candidates Affect Perceptions of Election Fraud," Politics & Gender, 10(3): 365-391, 2014. (with Emily Beaulieu).

Access a copy of our manuscript here or on my webpage.

How do stereotypes of female candidates influence citizens’ perceptions of political fraud and corruption? Because gender stereotypes characterize female politicians as more ethical, honest, and trustworthy than male politicians, there are important theoretical reasons for expecting female politicians to mitigate perceptions of fraud and corruption. Research using observational data, however, is limited in its ability to establish a causal relationship between women’s involvement in politics and reduced concerns about corruption. Using a novel experimental survey design, we find that the presence of a female candidate systematically reduces the probability that individuals will express strong suspicion of election fraud in what would otherwise be considered suspicious circumstances. Results from this experiment also reveal interesting heterogeneous effects: individuals who are not influenced by shared partisanship are even more responsive to gender cues; and male respondents are more responsive to those cues than females. These findings have potential implications for women running for office, both with respect to election fraud and corruption more broadly, particularly in low-information electoral settings.


"Women’s Representation and Legislative Committee Appointments: The Case of the Argentine Provinces," Uruguayan Journal of Political Science [Revista Uruguaya de Ciencia Política] 23 (2): 135-163, 2014.

  • Special edition on women’s representation, Niki Johnson and Michelle Taylor-Robinson, eds.

Access a copy of my manuscript here or on my webpage.

Over the last two decades, a large number of countries worldwide have adopted a gender quota to increase women’s political representation in the legislature. While quotas are designed to improve women’s representation in legislative positions, it is unclear if electing more women to legislative office is sufficient to accomplish institutional incorporation. Once women are elected to office, are they being incorporated into the legislative body and gaining their own political power, or are they being marginalized? Using an original data set that tracks committee appointments in the twenty-two Argentine legislative chambers over an eighteen-year period (from 1992-2009), I evaluate the extent to which women have access to powerful committee appointments—beyond traditional women’s domains committees—and how women’s access to committee appointments changes over time. I hypothesize that while women may initially be sidelined, as they gain more experience in the legislature they may overcome institutional barriers and develop institutional knowledge that will better equip them to work within the system to gain access to valuable committee appointments.


"Election Law Reform in Chile: The Implementation of Automatic Registration and Voluntary Voting," Election Law Journal, 13(4): 570-582, 2014. (With Gabriela Rangel).

Access a copy of our manuscript here or on my webpage.

In 2012, Chile passed a major election law reform to adopt automatic registration and voluntary voting. Prior to this, Chile, like most Latin American countries, had a compulsory voting law. With this reform, Chile became one of only a few countries to ever move from compulsory to voluntary voting. Since the new law came into effect, two elections have taken place. The purpose of this research note is to review registration and turnout patterns in comparative historical terms, discuss the pros and cons of the election law reform, and to evaluate the 2012 and 2013 election outcomes with respect to voter turnout and election results. We describe the background of voter registration and turnout under the old system; discuss the debate surrounding the election law reform; and review the impact of the reform on turnout patterns.


Engendering Politics: The Impact of Descriptive Representation on Women’s Political Engagement in Sub-Saharan Africa,” Comparative Political Studies, 46 (7): 767-790, 2013. (with Stephanie Burchard).

Access a copy of our article here or on my webpage.

Access our replication data on Dataverse.

Globally, there is a significant gender gap between the political engagement of men and women; however, this gender gap varies both across countries and within countries over time. Previous research has argued that the inclusion of women in elite political positions encourages women’s political engagement at the citizen level—by augmenting women’s symbolic representation—and can reduce this gender gap. Using Afrobarometer data from 20 African countries across 4 waves of surveys from 1999 to 2008, we employ an interactive multilevel model that controls for the sex of the respondent, percentage of women in the legislature, and the interaction of these two variables. We find that as women’s descriptive representation increases, the political engagement gender gap diminishes. This finding is robust across several measures of political engagement. Our findings suggest that the incorporation of women into political institutions encourages the political engagement of women at the citizen level.


Gender and Legislative Preferences: Evidence from the Argentine Provinces,” Politics & Gender, 8(4): 483-507, 2012.

Access a copy of my article here or on my webpage.

Scholars of gender and politics are interested in understanding whether female and male legislators represent women constituents differently. A key piece of this puzzle is to understand if female legislators exhibit different legislative preferences than male legislators. Yet, extant research using roll call data to measure legislative preferences results in mixed findings. I argue that while male and female legislators are likely to display distinct preferences, these differences are difficult to detect using roll call data since it is highly structured by party influences. I address this shortcoming by drawing on an original data set that uses cosponsorship data to measure legislative preferences. Like roll call data, cosponsorship data can be used to recover ideal point estimates. One key difference is that, since cosponsorship behavior is less structured by party pressures, it is more useful for examining intra-party differences such as gender. I analyze original data from 18 provincial legislative chambers in Argentina over a 16-year period of time. I find statistically significant gender differences in approximately 90% of the chambers. This study provides evidence that gender does influence legislative preferences. While this is only one small piece of the puzzle, it is important for understanding women’s representation.


“Women in Executives: Latin America,” in Women in Executive Power: a Global Overview, eds. Gretchen Bauer and Manon Tremblay. New York: Routledge, 2011. (with Mark P. Jones).

Access a copy of our book chapter here.

This paper evaluates the evolution of women in the executive branch in 18 Latin American Democracies over the past decade. While many countries in Latin America still have significant disparities in women’s representation in the Executive Branch, other countries have achieved near or perfect gender parity. Overall, the presence of women in the executive branch in Latin America grew from 8% to 25% in the past decade. However, while Latin America has experienced a significant improvement in the gender composition of the executive branch, this has not been extended to the top executive post. Despite notable exceptions, women in Latin American still have extremely limited access to the presidency and comprise only a small fraction of viable presidential candidates. To further investigate why women are present in some executive chambers and not in others we provide an in-depth analysis of the evolution of women’s presence in executive positions in Argentina and Chile. Previous studies identify multiple indicators of women’s success in the executive, however in our time-series analysis of Argentina and Chile, we find the most important predictor of women’s presence in the Executive branch is a product of explicit, albeit informal policies by the countries’ president to improve women’s standing in the executive.


Responsibility and the Diversionary Use of Force,” Conflict Management and Peace Science, 28(5): 478-496, 2011. (with Jesse C. Johnson).

Access a copy of our article here or on my webpage.

Access our replication data on Dataverse.

Do state leaders use force abroad to divert supporters' attention from domestic economic problems? Many studies in international relations attempt to provide an answer to this question but the empirical findings are inconsistent. In this paper we argue that it is necessary to consider variations in supporters' perceptions of leaders' control of the economy to understand leaders' incentives to engage in the diversionary use of force. Leaders that are perceived to have high levels of responsibility for the economy will be more likely to use force abroad in the presence of domestic economic problems than leaders that are perceived to have lower levels of responsibility. When leaders are not perceived to have high levels of responsibility they do not have an incentive to use force abroad in the presence of domestic economic problems because the economic problems will not affect the probability that they will retain power. A directed dyad analysis of conflict initiation from 1950 to 1998 supports this hypothesis. This study improves our understanding of patterns of international conflict and, more specifically, the diversionary use of force, by demonstrating the contexts in which diversionary incentives will be strongest.


Learning to Govern: The Texas Experience,” The Journal of Political Science, 34:1-36, 2006. (with Timothy O’Neil).

Access a copy of this manuscript here.

The Republican Party took control of the Texas House of Representatives for the first time in 130 years on January 14, 2003. How did the Texas House change as the Republicans learned how to be the majority party and the Democrats struggled with being the minority? The Texas House’s painful shift from a partially bipartisan to a fully partisan chamber was not only the product of inexperienced leadership and harsh partisan bullying. The changes were largely the product of a broader process of electoral calculation and consequent deinstitutionalization affecting many other state legislatures that have not experienced recent shifts in party control.


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