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Incumbents' interests and gender quotas

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  • Guillaume R. Frhette

    ()
    (New York University - Department of Economics)

  • Franis Maniquet

    ()

  • Massimo Morelli

    ()
    (Columbia University - Department of Economics)

Abstract

The adoption of mandatory gender quotas in party lists has been a subject of discussion in many countries. Since any reform obviously requires the approval of a (sometimes qualified) majority of incumbent legislators' votes, keeping an eye on incumbents' interests and incentives in different systems seems a natural thing to do if we want to understand different prospects for reforms in different countries. Such differences in the cost-benefit analysis of incumbents may well depend on the electoral system. We argue that if male candidates have a higher probability of being elected when running against a female candidate than when running against a male of similar characteristics (male advantage), then single member district majority rule and closed list proportional representation are opposite extremes in terms of incentives for incumbents to pass parity laws. We validate the above argument using a formal model of constitutional design as well as an empirical analysis of the legislative elections in France, since France offers a natural experiment for both electoral systems. Given the male advantage, increasing the number of female new candidates made the incumbents' probability of reelection higher and thus male incumbent members of the Assembly have actually benefited from the parity law. We also show that parity may have Assembly composition effects and policy effects that vary with the electoral system.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Columbia University, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 0708-06.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:clu:wpaper:0708-06

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Cited by:
  1. Audinga Baltrunaite & Piera Bello & Alessandra Casarico & Paola Profeta, 2012. "Gender Quotas and the Quality of Politicians," CESifo Working Paper Series 3734, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Raghbendra Jha & Sharmistha Nag & Hari K. Nagarajan, 2011. "Political Reservations, Access to Water and Welfare Outcomes: Evidence from Indian Villages," ASARC Working Papers 2011-15, The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre.
  3. Nagarajan, Hari K. & Deininger, Klaus & Jin, Songqing, 2011. "Can political reservations affect political equilibria in the long-term? Evidence from local elections in rural India," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Berlin 2011 59, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.

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