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Women political leaders, corruption and learning: Evidence from a large public program in India

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Author Info

  • Farzana Afridi

    ()
    (Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi)

  • Vegard Iversen

    (Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester)

  • M.R. Sharan

    (Jameel Poverty Action Lab, South Asia)

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    Abstract

    We use the nation-wide policy of randomly allocating village council headships to women to identify the impact of female political leadership on the governance of projects implemented under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in India. Using primary survey data, we find more program inefficiencies and leakages in village councils reserved for women heads: political and administrative inexperience make such councils more vulnerable to bureaucratic capture. When using a panel of audit reports, governance improves as female leaders accumulate experience. These results suggest that female political leadership may generate gains in governance but only after the initial, gendered disadvantages recede. Our findings highlight capacity building as necessary for bolstering the effectiveness of political quotas for women.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India in its series Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers with number 13-02.

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    Length: 50 pages
    Date of creation: Jan 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ind:isipdp:13-02

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    Keywords: political reservations; gender; NREGA; India;

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    1. Mani, Anandi & Iyer, Lakshmi & Mishra, Prachi & Topalova, Petia, 2011. "The Power of Political Voice: Women's Political Representation and Crime in India," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 63, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
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    4. Claudio Ferraz & Frederico Finan, 2011. "Electoral Accountability and Corruption: Evidence from the Audits of Local Governments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1274-1311, June.
    5. Anand Swamy & Stephen Knack & Young Lee & Omar Azfar, 2000. "Gender and Corruption," Center for Development Economics 158, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    6. Lori Beaman & Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo & Rohini Pande & Petia Topalova, 2009. "Powerful Women: Does Exposure Reduce Bias?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1497-1540, November.
    7. Branisa, Boris & Ziegler, Maria, 2011. "Reexamining the link between gender and corruption: The role of social institutions," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Berlin 2011 15, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
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    9. Vivi Alatas & Lisa Cameron & Ananish Chaudhuri & Nisvan Erkal & Lata Gangadharan, 2006. "Gender and Corruption: Insights from an Experimental Analysis," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 974, The University of Melbourne.
    10. Vivi Alatas & Lisa Cameron & Ananish Chaudhuri & Nisvan Erkal & Lata Gangadharan, 2009. "Gender, Culture, and Corruption: Insights from an Experimental Analysis," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 663–680, January.
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    12. Yannis M. Ioannides, 2010. "A Review of Scott E. Page's The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(1), pages 108-122, March.
    13. Bardhan Pranab K. & Mookherjee Dilip & Parra Torrado Monica, 2010. "Impact of Political Reservations in West Bengal Local Governments on Anti-Poverty Targeting," Journal of Globalization and Development, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-38, January.
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    Cited by:
    1. Gupta, Bhanu & Mukhopadhyay, Abhiroop, 2014. "Local Funds and Political Competition: Evidence from the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in India," IZA Discussion Papers 8196, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Xu, Guo, 2013. "Development through Empowerment: Delivering Effective Public Services – a Literature Review," ADB Economics Working Paper Series 382, Asian Development Bank.

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