Women in politics: Evidence from the Indian States
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.
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