Erin Hern

Assistant Professor, Political Science

Erin Hern

Contact Information

400B Eggers Hall
(315) 443-9119


Ph.D., Cornell University, 2015



Comparative politics, African politics, political participation, women and gender


PSC 123 - Introduction to Comparative Politics
PSC 351 - Political Economy of Development


2019. Developing States, Shaping Citizenship: Service Delivery and Political Behavior in Zambia. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

2018. “Taking to the Streets: Protest Behavior in sub-Saharan Africa.” Comparative Political Studies.  With Adam Harris. DOI: 10.1177/0010414018806540

2018. “Pentecostal Identity & Citizen Engagement in Sub-Saharan Africa: New Evidence from Zambia.” Politics and Religion. With Elizabeth Sperber. DOI: 10.1017/S1755048318000330

2018. “Gender and Participation in Africa’s Electoral Regimes: An Analysis of Variation in the Gender Gap.” Politics, Groups, and Identities. DOI: 10.1080/21565503.2018.1458323

2017. “The Trouble with Institutions: How Women’s Policy Machineries Can Undermine Women’s Mass Participation.” Politics & Gender 13(3): 405-431. 

2017. “Better than Nothing: How Policies Influence Political Participation in Low-Capacity Democracies.” Governance 30(4): 583-600.

2017. “In the Gap the State Left: Policy Feedback, Collective Behavior, and Political Particpation in Zambia.” Studies in Comparative International Development 52(4): 510-531 

Research Projects

Across African countries, women participate in politics less than men. This gendered gap in political participation persists even after controlling for the individual-level characteristics that explain voting behavior in advanced industrial democracies. Additionally, the size of the gap between men’s and women’s participation varies dramatically from country to country. This research project seeks to address the overarching question: what accounts for variation in the gender gap in political participation in African countries? In earlier work, I established that the gap between men’s and women’s participation was larger in former French colonies and smaller in countries with more female legislative representatives. In this project, my goal is to disentangle the mechanisms connecting colonial history and descriptive representation to women’s participation more broadly. The two guiding questions for this project are as follows:
1. Why is the gender gap in political participation larger in former French colonies than elsewhere?
2. What are the mechanisms driving the relationship between women’s representation and enhanced women’s political participation?