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Women and Power: Unwilling, Ineffective, or Held Back?

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Author Info

  • Casas-Arce, Pablo

    ()
    (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

  • Saiz, Albert

    ()
    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Abstract

We develop a model that nests previous explanations for women under-representation in positions of power. Focusing on democratic electoral dynamics, our framework delineates the three types of mechanisms that may be at play: consumer demand, candidate supply, and internal party dynamics beyond electoral markets. We use Spain's Equality Law, requiring a 40 percent female quota in electoral lists, to test the alternative theories. The law was enacted by the social-democratic party after the surprise parliamentary electoral results following the Madrid terrorist bombings, and was therefore completely unexpected by regional political machines. The law only applied to towns with populations above 5000, so we can use a treatment-control, before-and-after discontinuity design to learn about the impact of female politicians in local elections. Our evidence is most consistent with the existence of entrenched male-dominated political machines capturing influential power positions within the parties.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5645.

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Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5645

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Keywords: female political representation;

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  1. John Knowles & Nicola Persico & Petra Todd, 2001. "Racial Bias in Motor Vehicle Searches: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(1), pages 203-232, February.
  2. Reuben, Ernesto & Rey-Biel, Pedro & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2012. "The emergence of male leadership in competitive environments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 111-117.
  3. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2005. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," NBER Working Papers 11474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. De Paola, Maria & Scoppa, Vincenzo & Lombardo, Rosetta, 2010. "Can gender quotas break down negative stereotypes? Evidence from changes in electoral rules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 94(5-6), pages 344-353, June.
  5. Beaman, Lori & Chattopadhyay, Raghabendra & Duflo, Esther & Pande, Rohini & Topalova, Petia, 2008. "Powerful Women: Does Exposure Reduce Bias?," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 6922, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Price, Joseph & Wolfers, Justin, 2007. "Racial Discrimination Among NBA Referees," IZA Discussion Papers 2863, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Berta Esteve-Volart & Manuel F. Bagües, 2009. "Are Women Pawns in the Political Game? Evidence from Elections to the Spanish Senate," Working Papers 2009-30, FEDEA.
  8. Fernando Ferreira & Joseph Gyourko, 2011. "Does Gender Matter for Political Leadership? The Case of U.S. Mayors," NBER Working Papers 17671, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Cavalcanti, Tiago & Tavares, José, 2006. "Women Prefer Larger Governments: Growth, Structural Transformation and Government Size," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 5667, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Manuel F. Bagues & Berta Esteve-Volart, 2010. "Can Gender Parity Break the Glass Ceiling? Evidence from a Repeated Randomized Experiment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(4), pages 1301-1328.
  11. Saiz, Albert & Wachter, Susan M., 2006. "Immigration and the Neighborhood," IZA Discussion Papers 2503, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Ayres, Ian & Siegelman, Peter, 1995. "Race and Gender Discrimination in Bargaining for a New Car," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 304-21, June.
  13. Patricia Funk & Christina Gathmann, 2008. "Gender gaps in policy making: Evidence from direct democracy in Switzerland," Economics Working Papers 1126, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
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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. Sonia Bhalotra & Irma Clots-Figueras, 2013. "Health and the Political Agency of Women," Economics Discussion Papers, University of Essex, Department of Economics 739, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  3. Maria De Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa & Marco Alberto De Benedetto, 2012. "The Impact of Gender Quotas on Electoral Participation: Evidence from Italian Municipalities," Working Papers 201206, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza (Ex Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica).

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