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Research Projects

"Gender Identity on the Ballot"

In June 2023, I was awarded a SSHRC Insight Development Grant as the Principal Investigator to pursue my new project, “Gender Identity on the Ballot: Explaining the Electoral Politics of Gender Diversity.” In this project, I seek to explain the experiences of transgender and gender variant individuals in electoral politics. This research program will offer new empirical insight into the experiences of transgender and gender variant political candidates, the strategic choices made during political campaigns, and the effects of transgender candidates on public policy and public opinion. 

Book Project

Working Title: Policy Momentum and Transgender Inclusion in Public Policy

Transgender recognition in public policy has become more widespread across Western democracies. My book project project focuses specifically on explaining the variation in timing of policy adoption. Drawing on existing research that spans international norm diffusion and domestic policy diffusion, my project offers a novel framework for understanding the timing of policy change by focusing on the interaction between global and domestic levels. 

I use military policy and anti-discrimination legislation in Canada and Australia as comparative cases. Empirically, the project relies on a combination of elite interviews, media reports, archival material, and previously undisclosed government documents. Through this work, I contribute to our understanding of LBGTQ+ public policy while also providing a framework for explaining the conditions for cross-national policy change more broadly.

Peer-Reviewed Publications

McMahon, Nicole. 2023. "Explaining Transgender Policy Change: Policy Momentum in Canada and Australia." Governance, 1-19. 


Sayers, Anthony, Nicole McMahon, and Royce Koop. 2023. "The Electoral Politics of Alberta's Sovereignty Act. Canadian Journal of Political Science 56(1): 229-236.


McMahon, Nicole, Anthony Sayers, and Christopher Alcantara. "Political Donations and the Gender Gap during COVID-19." Party Politics 29(1): 176–184.


Caplan, Michelle, Nicole McMahon, and Christopher Alcantara. "Representing the Constituency: Institutional Design and Legislative Behavior." Representation 57(4): 459-474.


McMahon, Nicole, Christopher Alcantara, and Laura Stephenson. 2020. “The QFE: What Is It Good For?” PS: Political Science & Politics 53(1): 94-99.



McMahon, Nicole and Christopher Alcantara. 2019. “Running for elected office: Indigenous candidates, ambition and self-government.” Politics, Groups and Identities 9(2): 280-299.


Other Publications

Anthony Sayers, Nicole McMahon, and Christopher Alcantara. 2021. "The COVID-19 crisis is about physical infrastructure too." Policy Options. Montreal: Institute for Research on Public Policy. May 5, 2021. 

Submitted for Review

Girard, Tyler, Nicole McMahon, and Megan Payler. “Theorizing Norm Stagnation and the Evolution of Domestic Norm Adoption.” (Under Review)

Working Papers

McMahon, Nicole. “Prejudicial Attitudes and LGBTQ+ Politics: A New Measure of Transgender Acceptance.” (Manuscript Available Upon Request)

Works in Progress

McMahon, Nicole. "Candidacy and Gender Identity: The Development of Political Ambition.."


McMahon, Nicole and Anthony Sayers. “Gendered Evaluations of Female Political Leaders.”

McMahon, Nicole. "Measuring Sub-National Opinion in Canada."

McMahon, Nicole and Anthony Sayers. "The Evolution of Support for Marriage Equality in Alberta, 2008-2019."

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