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Journal Article

A WAR OF ONE'S OWN: UNDERSTANDING THE GENDER GAP IN SUPPORT FOR WAR

DEBORAH JORDAN BROOKS and BENJAMIN A. VALENTINO
The Public Opinion Quarterly
Vol. 75, No. 2 (Summer 2011), pp. 270-286
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41288384
Page Count: 17
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A WAR OF ONE'S OWN: UNDERSTANDING THE GENDER GAP IN SUPPORT FOR WAR
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Abstract

The gender gap in support for war represents the largest and most consistent policy gender gap in public opinion polling. We know little about the causes of this gap, however, because scholars have not effectively isolated how or why the gender gap changes in response to the characteristics of different wars. We conducted two controlled experiments on demographically representative samples of U.S. adults to see if systematically varying the stakes of war (economic/strategic vs. humanitarian) or multilateral support for the action (U.N. approval vs. U.N. rejection) affects the size of the gender gap. We propose an interactive theoretical perspective that explicitly links these characteristics with key individual-level characteristics that might be driving the gender gap. Our findings indicate that the gender gap is strongly dependent on the specific context of the war. In fact, we find that the gender gap reverses when the war has U.N. approval or if the stakes of the war are humanitarian.

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