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Powerful Women: Does Exposure Reduce Bias?

  • Lori Beaman

    (Northwestern University.)

  • Raghabendra Chattopadhyay

    (Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta.)

  • Esther Duflo

    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, National Bureau of Economic Research, and Center for Economic Policy Research.)

  • Rohini Pande

    (Harvard University and Center for Economic Policy Research.)

  • Petia Topalova

    (International Monetary Fund.)

We exploit random assignment of gender quotas for leadership positions on Indian village councils to show that prior exposure to a female leader is associated with electoral gains for women. After ten years of quotas, women are more likely to stand for, and win, elected positions in councils required to have a female chief councilor in the previous two elections. We provide experimental and survey evidence on one channel of influence-changes in voter attitudes. Prior exposure to a female chief councilor improves perceptions of female leader effectiveness and weakens stereotypes about gender roles in the public and domestic spheres. (c) 2009 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology..

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 124 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 1497-1540

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:124:y:2009:i:4:p:1497-1540
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