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Female Representation but Male Rule? Party Competition and the Political Glass Ceiling

Author

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  • Folke, Olle

    (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))

  • Rickne, Johanna

    () (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))

Abstract

A large literature has studied the context that affects women’s numerical representation, but few have moved beyond numbers to study the drivers of a gender gap in political influence among elected politicians. Using panel data for the careers of 35.000 Swedish municipal politicians over six election cycles we first document the said gender gap. Women are substantially less likely to be re-elected for office, which is the most important pre-condition for obtaining influential appointments. Turing to the determinants we find that supply factors, primarily family responsibilities, explain some of this gap. Meanwhile, demand factors such as experience, age, education and income do not. Finding that competition between political parties closes the gap, we argue that a negative bias against women among party selectors thrives in contexts where meritocracy is not enforced. Positive correlations between competition and measures of competence for elected politicians of both genders further support this conclusion.

Suggested Citation

  • Folke, Olle & Rickne, Johanna, 2012. "Female Representation but Male Rule? Party Competition and the Political Glass Ceiling," Working Paper Series 923, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0923
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 2003. "Political Institutions and Policy Choices: Evidence from the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 7-73.
    2. Irma Clots-Figueras, 2012. "Are Female Leaders Good for Education? Evidence from India," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 212-244, January.
    3. Svaleryd, Helena, 2009. "Women's representation and public spending," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 186-198, June.
    4. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Anders Poulsen & Marie Claire Villeval, 2005. "Male and Female Competitive Behavior - Experimental Evidence," Post-Print halshs-00180022, HAL.
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    6. Svaleryd, Helena & Vlachos, Jonas, 2009. "Political rents in a non-corrupt democracy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(3-4), pages 355-372, April.
    7. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2007. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, pages 1067-1101.
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    9. Esteve-Volart, Berta & Bagues, Manuel, 2012. "Are women pawns in the political game? Evidence from elections to the Spanish Senate," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 387-399.
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    13. repec:cup:apsrev:v:88:y:1994:i:03:p:560-576_09 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Careers in politics; Political competition; Supply of politicians;

    JEL classification:

    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets

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