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Gender Interactions within Hierarchies: Evidence from the Political Arena

  • M. Daniele Paserman

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Boston University, NBER, CEPR and IZA)

  • Stefano Gagliarducci

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Tor Vergata University and IZA)

This paper studies gender interactions within hierarchical organizations using a large data set on the duration of Italian municipal governments elected between 1993 and 2003. A municipal government can be viewed as a hierarchy, whose stability over time depends on the degree of cooperation between and within ranks. We find that in municipalities headed by female mayors, the probability of early termination of the legislature is higher. This result persists and becomes stronger when we control for municipality fixed effects as well as for non-random sorting of women into municipalities using regression discontinuity in gender-mixed electoral races decided by a narrow margin. The likelihood that a female mayor survives until the end of her term is lowest when the council is entirely male, and in regions with less favorable attitudes towards working women. This evidence is suggestive that group dynamics are an important factor in driving the gender difference. Other interpretations receive less support in the data. Our results may provide an alternative explanation for the underrepresentation of women in leadership positions.

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Paper provided by Boston University - Department of Economics in its series Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number WP2011-048.

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Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bos:wpaper:wp2011-048
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