Thiel professor’s collaboration shows news impacts female politicians more drastically

GREENVILLE, Pa.—Female politicians benefit more than their male counterparts when it comes to positive news, but also suffer more severe consequences from negative news, according to research by a Thiel College professor and her colleague.

Thiel College Assistant Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Department of Political Science Marie Courtemanche, Ph.D., collaborated with Joanne Green, Ph.D., of Texas Christian University, on the paper, “A Fall from Grace: Women, Scandals, and Perceptions of Politicians.”

They examined whether stereotypes about gender affected how candidates running for office were assessed, specifically whether evaluations involving wrongdoing were asymmetrical between male and female candidates. Using an experimental survey of an adult sample, their research found that voters tended to evaluate women more positively in the absence of scandals. However, when wrongdoing was considered, women faced harsher criticism and backlash than their male counterparts.

Their article will appear in a forthcoming edition of the “Journal of Women, Politics, and Policy,” a peer-reviewed academic journal that focuses on the role that women have in political processes.

Her publication was made possible by a GNC grant she received in 2015. The GNC grant was funded by the Haer family, who are both alums of Thiel College. They funded an initiative that gave grants for three years to faculty who were interested in doing research involving a student. Courtemanche won a grant in 2015. She worked with then Thiel College student Morgan Gray ’16 on developing a survey that was distributed to a national audience during summer 2016,  the results of which were used in her forthcoming publication.

In 2015, Courtemanche and a different group of co-authors had their work published in The Washington Post as part of the analysis of Pope Francis’ trip to the United States. The Washington Post article, “This chart explains why Pope Francis’s call to welcome immigrants probably won’t make a difference” is based on research that was published in the American Political Science Review. Courtemanche collaborated with Pazit Ben-Nun Bloom, Ph.D., of Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Gizem Arikan, Ph.D., of Yasar University, for the paper “Religious Social Identity, Religious Belief and Anti-Immigration Sentiment.” That research also inspired the piece published online “Praying for both teams: How religion both facilitates and dampens anti-immigration sentiment” for the London School of Economics.

Courtemanche has taught at Thiel College since 2014. She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of New Hampshire. She has her Doctor of Philosophy in research methodology and quantitative methods in political psychology and American politics from Stony Brook University.

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Thiel College is an independent college founded in the Lutheran tradition. Located in Greenville, Pa., the College offers 60 majors and minors, 24 varsity sports, and an 11:1 student-faculty ratio. The College is also home to a new Master of Science in speech-language pathology and 2Master of Business Administration. Both master’s degree programs offer innovative and accelerated five-year paths which allow students to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years. The speech-language pathology program also has an accelerated 15-month graduate-level program. The M.B.A. program also has a 12-month post-graduate program.A dedicated faculty paired with dynamic research and internship opportunities produce numerous graduate school and job placements. Coeducational from its beginnings, the College remains committed to combining tradition with innovation as it celebrates 150 years.