Do Women Also Know Stuff?
How not to study gaps in knowledge
A New Possibility and Some Background
A recent study on sex differences in political knowledge by political scientist Patrick Kraft purportedly challenged the idea that women are less politically knowledgeable and thus politically sophisticated than men. Many papers don’t meet their stated goals, so we have to ask: did this one?
Kraft started the paper by taking note of the male-female gap in conventional measurements of political knowledge. These measurements usually take the form of simple multiple-choice questions like
Which party has the most seats in the U.S. Senate? Is it the…
How much of a majority is required for the U.S. Senate and U.S. House to override a presidential veto?
and they’re sometimes more difficult, as in
Across the United States, how many workers – immigrants and U.S.-born – do you think are employed by immigrant-owned businesses?
Less than 500,000
500,000 to 1 million
1 million to 5 million
5 million to 10 million
More than 10 million
Conventional measures usually provide evidence for a moderate male advantage, on the order of 0.3 d, suggesting that men are a bit more politically knowledgeable than women. This male-female political knowledge gap is comparable to the knowledge gap in many other domains, like
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