Would Women Have Solved the Debt Crisis?

Provocative commentary by LZ Granderson, a CNN columnist, on CNN.com. Granderson writes in regard to the debt crisis:

..over the past three weeks, we’ve seen just about every act there is to this political theater and, staying true to the time of Shakespeare, it seems every character is played by a man. Odds are that if there were more women in these discussions, the crisis would have been resolved by now.

He goes on to note that:

Women use both sides of their brain more effectively and thus are naturally hardwired to be better communicators, more creative problem solvers and in moments of stress, less likely to walk out of meetings—debt-ceiling variety and others—than men. Furthermore, testosterone not only prompts a fight-or-flight response to stress, it suppresses oxytocin, the hormone that encourages bonding and positive social behavior.

and that:

…the science suggests we really don’t know if Eric Cantor and President Obama abruptly left their respective tense budget meetings as a negotiating tactic or if they simply couldn’t control their hormones.

This is way outside my realm of expertise, but I imagine that there could be some political science research – perhaps from international relations studies? – that speaks to this question? Does anyone know of any empirical research that has set out to test whether tense political negotiations are likely to turn out differently if dominated by women than by men? I couldn’t find anything from searching Google Scholar that seemed to answer this question – about the best I could come up with was a study from the Leadership & Organization Development Journal that concluded that:

Perceived power in a multi-party negotiation can be affected by numerical status, as well as social status with the result that a minority female in a group dominated by males will act differently from a male in a female-dominated group.

Anyway, if anyone knows of relavent research, please feel free to note it in the comments section. And if you’ve conducted research on this topic and would like to write a guest post, please contact me directly.

[Cross-posted at The Monkey Cage]

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Joshua Tucker

Joshua Tucker is a Professor of Politics at New York University.