Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Public expenditure choices and gender quotas


Author Info

  • Indira Rajaraman
  • Manish Gupta


Purpose – This paper aims to be nested in the empirical literature examining the impact of gender quotas for elected posts to local government councils (panchayats) in India. Gender quotas apply at the level of both head (sarpanch, randomly assigned) and member (uniformly across councils). Received studies exploit the randomly allocated quota across panchayats at the level of sarpanch, and find a statistically significant impact of the gender of the sarpanch on public expenditure choices. This paper is motivated by the fact that those results imply sarpanch domination in the collective decisions of the council, and seeks to develop a model to show that such dominance is possible in the short run, but not inevitable. It then aims to test for sarpanch dominance using primary data from a field survey of panchayats in four states. Design/methodology/approach – The model is tested on field survey data from a sample of 776 panchayats. The probit specifications test for factors explanatory of the choice of expenditure on waterworks as a binary variable, on the grounds that this is a smoother measure in multi-year expenditure commitments. However, there are supplementary specifications testing for the quantum of expenditure on water, both as a share of the total, as well as in absolutes. Findings – For the region surveyed, a higher probability of expenditure on waterworks is found in the presence of key variables that explain the incidence of water-borne diseases like cholera and diarrhea, as ascertained from a separate set of specifications. The gender of the head is statistically insignificant. Thus, in the region studies, gender of the head is trumped by economic fundamentals in expenditure choices, but this leaves open the possibility that the (uniform) gender quotas at membership level may have been what aligned choices with fundamentals. Originality/value – The key message of this paper is that the citizen candidate framework does not point to unique outcomes where public choice emerges from multi-member councils. Following from this, any finding on the impact of a gender quota at the level of head will necessarily be context-specific, and cannot become the basis for generalized expectations.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL:
Download Restriction: Articles are not free to download

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal Indian Growth and Development Review.

Volume (Year): 5 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 (December)
Pages: 108-130

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:eme:igdrpp:v:5:y:2012:i:2:p:108-130

Contact details of provider:
Web page:

Order Information:
Postal: Emerald Group Publishing, Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley, BD16 1WA, UK

Related research

Keywords: Gender; Gender quotas; Local government; Public expenditure; Public finance; Randomised reservation;


No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.


Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Lakshmi Iyer & Anandi Mani & Prachi Mishra & Petia Topalova, 2012. "The Power of Political Voice: Women's Political Representation and Crime in India," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 165-93, October.
  2. repec:cge:warwcg:62 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Farzana Afridi & Vegard Iversen & M.R. Sharan, 2013. "Women political leaders, corruption and learning: Evidence from a large public program in India," Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers 13-02, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India.
  4. Afridi, Farzana & Iversen, Vegard & Sharan, M.R., 2013. "Women Political Leaders, Corruption and Learning: Evidence from a Large Public Program in India," IZA Discussion Papers 7212, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).


This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


Access and download statistics


When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eme:igdrpp:v:5:y:2012:i:2:p:108-130. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Virginia Chapman).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.