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Women Politicians, Gender Bias, and Policy-making in Rural India


  • Lori Beaman


Despite the importance of this issue for the design of institutions around the world, little is known about the relative performance of women as policy makers, about their impact on child development and about how their performance is evaluated by voters. This paper exploits the fact that in India, mandated political representation for women in local governments (Gram Panchayats) was implemented in a randomized manner to present some insights on the causal impact of women as policy makers. The authors focus on the policy decisions of female village council leaders as they affect children, families and other women. The advantage of looking at village councils in India is that the randomized selection of the councils reserved for women eliminates most of the econometric problems mentioned above and allows authors to provide clear evidence on the impact of women’s leadership on policy decisions. [Background paper for the State of the World's Children]

Suggested Citation

  • Lori Beaman, 2007. "Women Politicians, Gender Bias, and Policy-making in Rural India," Working Papers id:835, eSocialSciences.
  • Handle: RePEc:ess:wpaper:id:835
    Note: Institutional Papers

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Esther Duflo, 2003. "Grandmothers and Granddaughters: Old-Age Pensions and Intrahousehold Allocation in South Africa," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(1), pages 1-25, June.
    2. Duncan Thomas, 1990. "Intra-Household Resource Allocation: An Inferential Approach," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(4), pages 635-664.
    3. Eckel, Catherine C & Grossman, Philip J, 1998. "Are Women Less Selfish Than Men? Evidence from Dictator Experiments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(448), pages 726-735, May.
    4. Timothy Besley & Rohini Pande & Vijayendra Rao, 2005. "Political Selection and the Quality of Government: Evidence from South India," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 08, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
    5. Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo, 2004. "Women as Policy Makers: Evidence from a Randomized Policy Experiment in India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1409-1443, September.
    6. Abhijit Banerjee & Angus Deaton & Esther Duflo, 2004. "Health care delivery in rural rajasthan," Framed Field Experiments 00120, The Field Experiments Website.
    7. Abhijit Banerjee & Rohini Somanathan, 2001. "A Simple Model of Voice," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 189-227.
    8. John R. Lott & Jr. & Lawrence W. Kenny, 1999. "Did Women's Suffrage Change the Size and Scope of Government?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1163-1198, December.
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