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The Impact of Gender Quotas on Electoral Participation: Evidence from Italian Municipalities

Author

Listed:
  • Maria De Paola

    ()

  • Vincenzo Scoppa

    ()

  • Marco Alberto De Benedetto

    () (Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica, Università della Calabria)

Abstract

We analyze the effect of gender quotas on electoral participation by using a rich dataset of Italian municipal elections. Gender quotas were in force in Italy from 1993 until 1995. Because of the short period covered by the reform, some municipalities never voted using gender quota. This allows us to identify a treatment and a control group and to estimate the effects of gender quotas by using a difference-in-differences estimation strategy. Notwithstanding electoral turnout shows a decreasing trend, we find that turnout has decreased significantly less in municipalities affected by the reform, suggesting that gender quotas have produced an increase in electoral participation. The effect on electoral turnout is driven by an increase in valid ballots, although we find also an increase in blank ballots. The effect is smaller in the Southern part of the country, typically characterized by more traditional gender roles. We also find that female electors react more than males probably because they expect female policy-makers to give particular attention to women’s interests.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria De Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa & Marco Alberto De Benedetto, 2012. "The Impact of Gender Quotas on Electoral Participation: Evidence from Italian Municipalities," Working Papers 201206, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
  • Handle: RePEc:clb:wpaper:201206
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    Cited by:

    1. Bozzano, Monica, 2017. "On the historical roots of women's empowerment across Italian provinces: religion or family culture?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 24-46.
    2. 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.
    3. Lo Prete, Anna & Revelli, Federico, 2014. "Voter Turnout and City Performance," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201435, University of Turin.
    4. Braga, Michela & Scervini, Francesco, 2017. "The performance of politicians: The effect of gender quotas," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, pages 1-14.
    5. De Benedetto, Marco Alberto & De Paola, Maria, 2013. "The Impact of Incumbency on Turnout: Evidence from Italian Municipalities," IZA Discussion Papers 7612, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gender Quotas; Political Participation; Electoral Turnout; Natural Experiment; Gender Discrimination;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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