Rachel Bernhard

Associate Professor in Quantitative Political Science Research Methods
Nuffield College
Office address
Room 144, Manor Road Building, University of Oxford, Manor Road, OX1 3UQ

I am Associate Professor of Quantitative Political Science Research Methods at Nuffield College and the University of Oxford. Before joining Nuffield, I served as an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Davis. I hold a PhD in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, and was a Postdoctoral Prize Fellow in Politics at Nuffield.

I am currently working on a book project on appearance-based discrimination in politics, and have recently taught classes on political psychology and public policy, identity politics, statistics and research design, women in politics, and computational methods.

Before I started graduate school, I worked for a few years in public health and education.


Previous courses taught include: 

  • Political Psychology and Public Policy (UC Berkeley graduates, Fall 2021)
  • Identity and Discrimination in US Politics (UC Davis graduates, Fall 2019, Spring 2022; Davis undergraduates, Winter 2021, Spring 2022)
  • Introduction to Computational Tools for Social Scientists (Berkeley graduates, Fall 2016 and Spring 2018; Oxford graduates, Trinity 2019; Davis graduates, Winter 2021)
  • The Scientific Study of Politics (Davis undergraduates, Winter 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2022)
  • Women in US Politics (Davis undergraduates, Winter 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2022)
  • Political Psychology (Berkeley undergraduates, Fall 2015)
  • Elections and Democratic Accountability (Berkeley undergraduates, Spring 2015)
  • Introduction to Research Design and Methodology (Berkeley undergraduates, Fall 2014)


Peer-Reviewed Publications

“Does Gender Stereotyping Affect Women at the Ballot Box? New Evidence from Local Elections in the United States.” With Sarah Anzia. British Journal of Political Science, 2022.

“Men and Women Candidates Similarly Persistent after Losing Elections.” With Justin de Benedictis-Kessner. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2021.

“To Emerge? Breadwinner Status and Women’s Decisions to Run for Office.” With Shauna Shames and Dawn Teele. American Political Science Review, 2021.

“Wearing the Pants? Gendered Leadership Styles and Candidate Evaluations.” Politics and Gender, 2021.

Good Reasons to Run: Women and Political Candidacy. Edited with Shauna Shames, Dawn Teele, and Mirya Holman. Temple University Press, 2020.

  • Winner, Choice Outstanding Academic Titles, 2020
  • Featured on New Books Network podcast, 2020
  • Reviewed in Perspectives on Politics (2021) and the Journal of Women, Politics, and Policy (2021)

“Who Runs? A Case Study of Emerge America’s Alumnae.” With Shauna Shames, Rachel Silbermann, and Dawn Teele. In Good Reasons to Run, Temple University Press, 2020.

“Beyond Ambition.” Edited with Mirya Holman, Shauna Shames, and Dawn Teele. Dialogue in Politics, Groups, and Identities, 2019.

“The More You Know: Voter Heuristics and the Information Search.” With Sean Freeder. Political Behavior, 2021 (2018).

  • Winner, APSA Best Article in Political Behavior Award, 2021

“IGS Survey Finds Support for Extending Taxes on Wealthy, Legalizing Marijuana, and Toughening Gun Control.” With Jack Citrin, Gabriel Lenz, and Ethan Rarick. California Journal of Politics and Policy, 2016.

“Design of Lightweight Robots for Over-Snow Mobility.” With James Lever and Sally Shoop. Journal of Terramechanics, 2009.

Working Papers

—Note all working papers are subject to change, and links may not be updated while papers are under review—

“The Silenced Text: Gender and the Experience of Political Participation.” With Alan Yan. Second round R&R, American Political Science Review.

“The Visual Conjoint: A New Solution for Social Desirability Bias.” Under review.

In Progress

Kiss, Marry, Kill: Appearance-Based Discrimination in Politics. Book manuscript in progress.

  • My book project, Kiss, Marry, Kill: Appearance-Based Discrimination in Politics, uses both real election data and survey experiments to show that voters express bias against older and less conventionally attractive women, and against candidates of color perceived to have more dominant or “threatening” faces. These effects are large enough to change the results of close elections. Moreover, an increase in mail-in voting thanks to COVID-19 means that these behaviors may become more widespread as more voters receive candidate appearance cues in their state-provided voting materials.

“Tinder Decides: Mate Desirability Influences Votes.” Revising.

“Gendering Political Campaigns.” Paper in progress.

“Wealth and Gender in Congress.” With Andrew Eggers and Marko Klašnja. Paper in progress.

  • Winner of the 2018 Carrie Chapman Catt Prize and the 2019 Elsie Hillman Prize