Women Politicians, Gender Bias, and Policy-making in Rural India
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 womenâ€™s leadership on policy decisions. [Background paper for the State of the World's Children]
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