Elite Influence on Attitudes About Gender Egalitarianism: Evidence from a Population-Based Survey Experiment

Bulut A. T., Yildirim T. M.

POLITICAL BEHAVIOR, vol.45, no.2, pp.659-678, 2023 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 45 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11109-021-09722-w
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, Periodicals Index Online, Political Science Complete, Psycinfo, Public Affairs Index, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.659-678
  • Keywords: Elite influence, Erdogan, Gender egalitarianism, Survey experiment, Turkey
  • Karadeniz Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Although various explanations have been proposed in regard to the persistency of patriarchal attitudes and gendered outcomes in political processes, much of the scholarly attention has focused on structural factors related to cultural dynamics and modernization. Motivated by a growing body of research looking into the role political elites play in shaping public attitudes about issues of normative importance, we make an attempt to shift empirical focus to shorter-term dynamics and understand how elite cues can undermine gender egalitarian values within the mass public. Drawing on an original population-based survey experiment of over 2700 subjects from a nation-wide face-to-face survey in Turkey, we examined how President Erdogan's patriarchal statements influence gender-egalitarian attitudes and how this influence varies across partisan groups. Our results show that the treatment group, relative to the control group, reports significantly lower levels of gender-egalitarian attitudes, and this effect is discernible even among secular opposition party voters. We conclude by discussing the potential implications of our findings for the study of gender-egalitarian values and elite influence in political processes.