This paper documents gender differences in the career paths of novice politicians. Using trajectories of over 11,000 candidates for California local offices and a regression discontinuity approach, I investigate the persistence of candidates after they win or lose elections. Losing an election causes over 50% more attrition among female than male candidates. Yet the gender gap in persistence depends on the setting: there is a smaller gap among candidates for high female representation offices and among candidates with prior elective experience. I discuss how the expected costs and benefits of running again potentially explain the gender gap in persistence.

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