This paper not only considers whether encouragement can be an effective tool for increasing political ambition, but it also asks whether the source of that encouragement matters. That is, are some sources of encouragement more credible and effective than others? In addition, it explores the profiles of those individuals who are most likely to be receptive to recruitment, accounting for factors such as age, gender, income, education, political interest, knowledge, and personality. To answer these questions, we conducted two studies. The first is a survey of eligible voters. We recruited 371 Canadians from a national panel, asking a variety of questions regarding their level of political ambition. Importantly, we uncover distinct profiles for men and women who are most likely to respond positively to encouragement. In the second study, we conducted an online experiment with 443 undergraduate university students. Here, we focus on the question of who is providing the encouragement as we manipulated the gender of the actor providing the encouragement to run for office. We find that women who are encouraged by a male party recruiter are significantly less likely to express interest in a political career than those in our gender-neutral control condition.

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Political Research Quarterly
Department of Psychology

Pruysers, S, & Blais, J. (2018). Narcissistic Women and Cash-Strapped Men: Who Can Be Encouraged to Consider Running for Political Office, and Who Should Do the Encouraging?. Political Research Quarterly. doi:10.1177/1065912918786040