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Women in politics: Evidence from the Indian States

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  • Clots-Figueras, Irma

Abstract

This paper uses panel data from the 16 larger states in India during the period 1967-2000 to study the effects of female political representation in the State Legislatures on public goods, policy and expenditure. It finds that politicians' gender affects policy, but that their social position, i.e., their caste, should be taken into account as well. Female legislators in seats reserved for lower castes and disadvantaged tribes invest more in health and early education and favor "women-friendly" laws, such as amendments to the Hindu Succession Act, which was designed to give women the same inheritance rights as men. They also favor redistributive policies, such as land reforms. In contrast, female legislators from higher castes do not have any impact on "women-friendly" laws, oppose land reforms, invest in higher tiers of education and reduce social expenditure. The causal effect of female legislators is estimated using close elections between women and men.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:7-8:p:664-690
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2002. "The Political Economy of Government Responsiveness: Theory and Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1415-1451.
    2. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 2003. "Elected Versus Appointed Regulators: Theory and Evidence," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1176-1206, September.
    3. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, pages 85-114.
    4. David S. Lee, 2001. "The Electoral Advantage to Incumbency and Voters' Valuation of Politicians' Experience: A Regression Discontinuity Analysis of Elections to the U.S..," NBER Working Papers 8441, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2000. "Land Reform, Poverty Reduction, and Growth: Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 389-430.
    6. 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.
    7. Dreze, Jean & Sen, Amartya, 2002. "India: Development and Participation," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 2, number 9780199257492.
    8. 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.
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    Keywords

    Gender Caste Policy India;

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H19 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Other
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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