IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/poleco/v63y2020ics0176268020300446.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Female political representation and substantive effects on policies: A literature review

Author

Listed:
  • Hessami, Zohal
  • da Fonseca, Mariana Lopes

Abstract

The share of women in political offices has increased considerably over the past few decades in almost every country in the world. Does this matter for policy outcomes? This is the first paper to provide a literature review on the substantive effects of female representation on policies. In developing countries, the increase in female political representation has caused a better provision of public goods, especially with regard to education and health. In developed countries, higher female representation has not affected public policies as measured by spending patterns. However, more recent evidence shows that female representation has induced changes in parliamentary deliberations and specific policy choices (e.g. more public child care) that may not be reflected in the observable composition of public spending. Finally, higher female representation has improved institutional quality by reducing corruption and rent-extraction by those in power.

Suggested Citation

  • Hessami, Zohal & da Fonseca, Mariana Lopes, 2020. "Female political representation and substantive effects on policies: A literature review," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:63:y:2020:i:c:s0176268020300446
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2020.101896
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0176268020300446
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2020.101896?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 2003. "Political Institutions and Policy Choices: Evidence from the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(1), pages 7-73, March.
    2. Irma Clots-Figueras, 2012. "Are Female Leaders Good for Education? Evidence from India," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 212-244, January.
    3. Hicks, Daniel L. & Hicks, Joan Hamory & Maldonado, Beatriz, 2016. "Women as policy makers and donors: Female legislators and foreign aid," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 46-60.
    4. Clots-Figueras, Irma, 2011. "Women in politics: Evidence from the Indian States," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 664-690, August.
    5. Thushyanthan Baskaran & Zohal Hessami, 2019. "Competitively Elected Women as Policy Makers," CESifo Working Paper Series 8005, CESifo.
    6. Potrafke, Niklas & Ursprung, Heinrich W., 2012. "Globalization and gender equality in the course of development," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 399-413.
    7. Swamy, Anand & Knack, Stephen & Lee, Young & Azfar, Omar, 2001. "Gender and corruption," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 25-55, February.
    8. Eva Ranehill & Roberto A. Weber, 2017. "Do Gender Preference Gaps Impact Policy Outcomes?," CESifo Working Paper Series 6776, CESifo.
    9. 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.
    10. Ferreira, Fernando & Gyourko, Joseph, 2014. "Does gender matter for political leadership? The case of U.S. mayors," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 24-39.
    11. Eckel, Catherine C & Grossman, Philip J, 1998. "Are Women Less Selfish Than Men? Evidence from Dictator Experiments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(448), pages 726-735, May.
    12. Eisenkopf, Gerald & Hessami, Zohal & Fischbacher, Urs & Ursprung, Heinrich W., 2015. "Academic performance and single-sex schooling: Evidence from a natural experiment in Switzerland," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 123-143.
    13. Lena Edlund & Laila Haider & Rohini Pande, 2005. "Unmarried Parenthood and Redistributive Politics," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(1), pages 95-119, March.
    14. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114.
    15. Thushyanthan Baskaran & Sonia Bhalotra & Brian Min & Yogesh Uppal, 2018. "Women legislators and economic performance," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2018-47, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    16. James Andreoni & Lise Vesterlund, 2001. "Which is the Fair Sex? Gender Differences in Altruism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 116(1), pages 293-312.
    17. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2007. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 122(3), pages 1067-1101.
    18. Paola Profeta & Eleanor Woodhouse, 2018. "Do Electoral Rules Matter for Female Representation?," CESifo Working Paper Series 7101, CESifo.
    19. Patricia Funk & Christina Gathmann, 2015. "Gender gaps in policy making: evidence from direct democracy in Switzerland," Economic Policy, CEPR, CESifo, Sciences Po;CES;MSH, vol. 30(81), pages 141-181.
    20. Lori Beaman & Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo & Rohini Pande & Petia Topalova, 2009. "Powerful Women: Does Exposure Reduce Bias?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1497-1540.
    21. Sonia Bhalotra & Irma Clots-Figueras, 2014. "Health and the Political Agency of Women," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 164-197, May.
    22. 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, vol. 94(5-6), pages 344-353, June.
    23. Esteve-Volart, Berta & Bagues, Manuel, 2012. "Are women pawns in the political game? Evidence from elections to the Spanish Senate," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 387-399.
    24. Bagues, Manuel & Campa, Pamela, 2021. "Can gender quotas in candidate lists empower women? Evidence from a regression discontinuity design," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 194(C).
    25. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinski, 1996. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 111(1), pages 65-96.
    26. Baltrunaite, Audinga & Bello, Piera & Casarico, Alessandra & Profeta, Paola, 2014. "Gender quotas and the quality of politicians," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 62-74.
    27. O’Brien, Diana Z. & Rickne, Johanna, 2016. "Gender Quotas and Women's Political Leadership," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 112-126, February.
    28. Rohini Pande, 2003. "Can Mandated Political Representation Increase Policy Influence for Disadvantaged Minorities? Theory and Evidence from India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1132-1151, September.
    29. Steffen Andersen & Erwin Bulte & Uri Gneezy & John A. List, 2008. "Do Women Supply More Public Goods Than Men? Preliminary Experimental Evidence from Matrilineal and Patriarchal Societies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 376-381, May.
    30. Thomas Buser & Muriel Niederle & Hessel Oosterbeek, 2014. "Gender, Competitiveness, and Career Choices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 129(3), pages 1409-1447.
    31. Guillaume R. Fréchette & Francois Maniquet & Massimo Morelli, 2008. "Incumbents' Interests and Gender Quotas," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 52(4), pages 891-909, October.
    32. Timothy Besley & Olle Folke & Torsten Persson & Johanna Rickne, 2017. "Gender Quotas and the Crisis of the Mediocre Man: Theory and Evidence from Sweden," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(8), pages 2204-2242, August.
    33. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2005. "Preferences for redistribution in the land of opportunities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 897-931, June.
    34. Esther Duflo, 2012. "Women Empowerment and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1051-1079, December.
    35. Thushyanthan Baskaran & Zohal Hessami, 2018. "Does the Election of a Female Leader Clear the Way for More Women in Politics?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 95-121, August.
    36. Richard L. Fox & Jennifer L. Lawless, 2004. "Entering the Arena? Gender and the Decision to Run for Office," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 48(2), pages 264-280, April.
    37. Eva Ranehill & Roberto A. Weber, 2022. "Gender preference gaps and voting for redistribution," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 25(3), pages 845-875, June.
    38. John R. Lott & Jr. & Lawrence W. Kenny, 1999. "Did Women's Suffrage Change the Size and Scope of Government?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1163-1198, December.
    39. Baskaran, Thushyanthan & Bhalotra, Sonia R. & Min, Brian & Uppal, Yogesh, 2018. "Women Legislators and Economic Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 11596, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    40. Sonia Bhalotra & Irma Clots‐Figueras & Lakshmi Iyer, 2018. "Pathbreakers? Women's Electoral Success and Future Political Participation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 128(613), pages 1844-1878, August.
    41. Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo, 2004. "Women as Policy Makers: Evidence from a Randomized Policy Experiment in India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1409-1443, September.
    42. Dollar, David & Fisman, Raymond & Gatti, Roberta, 2001. "Are women really the "fairer" sex? Corruption and women in government," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 423-429, December.
    43. Baltrunaite, Audinga & Casarico, Alessandra & Profeta, Paola & Savio, Giulia, 2019. "Let the voters choose women," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 180(C).
    44. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-474, June.
    45. David Neumark & Harry Holzer, 2000. "Assessing Affirmative Action," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 483-568, September.
    46. Grant Miller, 2008. "Women's Suffrage, Political Responsiveness, and Child Survival in American History," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 123(3), pages 1287-1327.
    47. Svaleryd, Helena, 2009. "Women's representation and public spending," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 186-198, June.
    48. Uri Gneezy & Kenneth L. Leonard & John A. List, 2009. "Gender Differences in Competition: Evidence From a Matrilineal and a Patriarchal Society," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(5), pages 1637-1664, September.
    49. Timothy Besley, 2005. "Political Selection," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 43-60, Summer.
    50. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2010. "Explaining the Gender Gap in Math Test Scores: The Role of Competition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 129-144, Spring.
    51. Ben Gillen & Erik Snowberg & Leeat Yariv, 2019. "Experimenting with Measurement Error: Techniques with Applications to the Caltech Cohort Study," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 127(4), pages 1826-1863.
    52. Debski, Julia & Jetter, Michael & Mösle, Saskia & Stadelmann, David, 2018. "Gender and corruption: The neglected role of culture," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 526-537.
    53. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1995. "Does Electoral Accountability Affect Economic Policy Choices? Evidence from Gubernatorial Term Limits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 110(3), pages 769-798.
    54. Clots-Figueras, Irma, 2011. "Women in politics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 664-690.
    55. Shelly Lundberg & Jenna Stearns, 2019. "Women in Economics: Stalled Progress," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 33(1), pages 3-22, Winter.
    56. Bhavnani, Rikhil R., 2009. "Do Electoral Quotas Work after They Are Withdrawn? Evidence from a Natural Experiment in India," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 103(1), pages 23-35, February.
    57. David S. Lee & Enrico Moretti & Matthew J. Butler, 2004. "Do Voters Affect or Elect Policies? Evidence from the U. S. House," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 119(3), pages 807-859.
    58. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
    59. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 2008. "Men, Women and Risk Aversion: Experimental Evidence," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, in: Charles R. Plott & Vernon L. Smith (ed.), Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 113, pages 1061-1073, Elsevier.
    60. Brad M. Barber & Terrance Odean, 2001. "Boys will be Boys: Gender, Overconfidence, and Common Stock Investment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 116(1), pages 261-292.
    61. Pablo Casas-Arce & Albert Saiz, 2015. "Women and Power: Unpopular, Unwilling, or Held Back?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 123(3), pages 641-669.
    62. Toke Aidt & Bianca Dallal, 2008. "Female voting power: the contribution of women’s suffrage to the growth of social spending in Western Europe (1869–1960)," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 134(3), pages 391-417, March.
    63. Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance in Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074.
    64. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 2000. "Unnatural Experiments? Estimating the Incidence of Endogenous Policies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(467), pages 672-694, November.
    65. Lori Beaman, 2007. "Women Politicians, Gender Bias, and Policy-making in Rural India," Working Papers id:835, eSocialSciences.
    66. Lena Edlund & Rohini Pande, 2002. "Why Have Women Become Left-Wing? The Political Gender Gap and the Decline in Marriage," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 117(3), pages 917-961.
    67. Christina Wolbrecht & David E. Campbell, 2007. "Leading by Example: Female Members of Parliament as Political Role Models," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 51(4), pages 921-939, October.
    68. Roseanna Michelle Heath & Leslie A. Schwindt‐Bayer & Michelle M. Taylor‐Robinson, 2005. "Women on the Sidelines: Women's Representation on Committees in Latin American Legislatures," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 49(2), pages 420-436, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Bagues, Manuel & Campa, Pamela, 2021. "Can gender quotas in candidate lists empower women? Evidence from a regression discontinuity design," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 194(C).
    2. Thomas Le & Julien Sauvagnat, 2022. "Electoral Competition, Voter Bias, and Women in Politics," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 352-394.
    3. Thushyanthan Baskaran & Zohal Hessami, 2019. "Competitively Elected Women as Policy Makers," CESifo Working Paper Series 8005, CESifo.
    4. Thushyanthan Baskaran & Sonia Bhalotra & Brian Min & Yogesh Uppal, 2018. "Women legislators and economic performance," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2018-47, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    5. Peveri, Julieta & Sangnier, Marc, 2023. "Gender differences in re-contesting decisions: New evidence from French municipal elections," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 214(C), pages 574-594.
    6. Israel García & Bernd Hayo, 2023. "Fiscal Reform in Spanish Municipalities: Gender Differences in Budgetary Adjustment," MAGKS Papers on Economics 202306, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    7. Chauvin, Juan Pablo & Tricaud, Clemence, 2022. "Gender and Electoral Incentives: Evidence from Crisis Response," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 12411, Inter-American Development Bank.
    8. 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.
    9. Carozzi, Felipe & Gago, Andrés, 2023. "Who promotes gender-sensitive policies?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 206(C), pages 371-405.
    10. Casarico, Alessandra & Lattanzio, Salvatore & Profeta, Paola, 2022. "Women and local public finance," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 72(C).
    11. Stefano Gagliarducci & M. Daniele Paserman, 2012. "Gender Interactions within Hierarchies: Evidence from the Political Arena," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 79(3), pages 1021-1052.
    12. Klaus Deininger & Songqing Jin & Hari K. Nagarajan & Fang Xia, 2015. "Does Female Reservation Affect Long-Term Political Outcomes? Evidence from Rural India," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(1), pages 32-49, January.
    13. Lippmann, Quentin, 2022. "Gender and lawmaking in times of quotas," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 207(C).
    14. Thushyanthan Baskaran & Zohal Hessami, 2018. "Does the Election of a Female Leader Clear the Way for More Women in Politics?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 95-121, August.
    15. Kantorowicz, Jarosław & Köppl-Turyna, Monika, 2020. "Electoral systems and female representation in politics: Evidence from a regression discontinuity," Working Papers 20, Agenda Austria.
    16. Kotsadam, Andreas & Nerman, Måns, 2012. "The Effects of Gender Quotas in Latin American National Elections," Working Papers in Economics 528, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    17. Ascensión Andina-Díaz & Paula Penalva & M. Socorro Puy, 2020. "Women’s Preferences for Social Spending: Theory and Evidence from Spanish Political Representatives," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 235(4), pages 119-151, December.
    18. 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.
    19. Baskaran, Thushyanthan & Hessami, Zohal, 2023. "Women in Political Bodies as Policymakers," IZA Discussion Papers 15983, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    20. Bhalotra, Sonia R. & Clarke, Damian & Gomes, Joseph & Venkataramani, Atheendar, 2018. "Maternal Mortality and Women's Political Participation," IZA Discussion Papers 11590, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Female politicians; Gender; Political selection; Policy preferences; Policy choices;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • H00 - Public Economics - - General - - - General
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:63:y:2020:i:c:s0176268020300446. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505544 .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.