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What happens when a woman wins an election? Evidence from close races in Brazil

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  • Brollo, Fernanda
  • Troiano, Ugo

Abstract

We analyze close elections between male and female mayoral candidates in Brazilian municipalities to provide novel evidence on the role of women as policymakers. Using an objective measure of corruption based on random government audits, we find that female mayors are less likely to engage in corruption compared to male mayors. We also find that female mayors hire fewer temporary public employees than male mayors during the electoral year and tend to attract less campaign contributions when running for reelection. Moreover, our results show that female mayors have a lower reelection probability than male mayors. We interpret our findings as suggesting that male incumbents are more likely to engage in strategic behavior and this improves their electoral performance. Other explanations receive less support from the data.

Suggested Citation

  • Brollo, Fernanda & Troiano, Ugo, 2016. "What happens when a woman wins an election? Evidence from close races in Brazil," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 28-45.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:122:y:2016:i:c:p:28-45
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2016.04.003
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gender; Politics; Corruption; Patronage; Campaign contributions;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • P16 - Political Economy and Comparative Economic Systems - - Capitalist Economies - - - Capitalist Institutions; Welfare State
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • I00 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General - - - General
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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