Journal of the Indiana Academy of the Social Sciences

Document Type



How do governors utilize state executive orders to effect policy changes? Are there differences between male and female governors? Though various works have examined the dynamics of presidential executive orders, few have examined how governors employ executive orders at the state level. We present results of a pilot study on how gender influences use of gubernatorial executive orders. Contrary to much of the literature on gender dynamics, we find minimal differences in the ways that female and male governors use gubernatorial executive orders. Female governors do not appear to rely more or less on unilateral orders than do their male colleagues. Although we do find some evidence that female governors are less likely to issue cultural and economic executive orders than socialissue and public-health executive orders, the difference between female and male governors across most issue areas is minimal. These results have important implications on studies of gender dynamics, the unilateral executive, and gubernatorial behavior.