Gendered Leadership During the COVID-19 Pandemic: How Democracy and Representation Moderate Leadership Effectiveness

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This article investigates whether and how gendered leadership makes a difference in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The country-level variances in the initial trajectories provide a unique comparative setting that allows us to examine the link between leadership and performance, moderated by institutional contexts – democracy and representation. Using daily panel data over the first half of the year 2020 across OECD countries, I find that women-led countries show epidemiologic patterns different from male-led countries. The effect of gendered leadership was contingent on the maturity of democracy and the degree of gender representation in both parliament and bureaucracy.