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Incumbents' interests and gender quotas

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  • FRECHETTE, Guillaume R.
  • MANIQUET, François
  • MORELLI, Massimo

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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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-5907.2008.00349.x
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers RP with number -2165.

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Handle: RePEc:cor:louvrp:-2165

Note: In : American Journal of Political Science, 52(4), 891-907, 2008
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Cited by:
  1. Audinga Baltrunaite & Piera Bello & Alessandra Casarico & Paola Profeta, 2013. "Gender quotas and the quality of politicians," Working Papers 2013-11, FEDEA.
  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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