a1 Department of Political Science, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA
Feminism and rational choice theory have both been hailed as approaches with the potential to revolutionize political science. Apart from a few exceptions, however, work utilizing these two perspectives rarely overlaps. This article reviews their main contributions and explores the potential for a combined approach. It argues that a synthesis of feminism and rational choice theory would involve attending to questions of gender, strategy, institutions, power, and change. The contours and benefits of this approach are illustrated with reference to one particular area of research: the adoption of electoral gender quotas. Despite a current lack of engagement across approaches, this example illustrates that the tools of feminist and rational choice analysis may be brought together in productive ways to ask and answer theoretically and substantively important questions in political science.
(Online publication July 29 2011)