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Gender and Dynastic Political Recruitment


  • Folke, Olle

    () (Department of Government)

  • Rickne, Johanna

    () (SOFI, Stockholm University)

  • Smith, Daniel M.

    () (Department of Government)


Throughout history and across countries, women appear more likely than men to enter politics at the heels of a close relative or spouse. We provide a theoretical explanation for this dynastic bias in gender representation that integrates political selection with informational inequalities across social groups. Legislator-level data from twelve democracies and candidate-level data from Ireland and Sweden support the idea that dynastic ties help women overcome a vote disadvantage in elections, and that the quality of predecessors may be more relevant in the recruitment of female successors than their male counterparts. Moreover, the role of informational inequalities in explaining the dynastic bias in gender representation is empirically supported by a declining gap over time, and following the introduction of a gender quota in Sweden.

Suggested Citation

  • Folke, Olle & Rickne, Johanna & Smith, Daniel M., 2018. "Gender and Dynastic Political Recruitment," Working Paper Series 1233, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:1233

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. O’Brien, Diana Z. & Rickne, Johanna, 2016. "Gender Quotas and Women's Political Leadership," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 112-126, February.
    2. Folke, Olle & Rickne, Johanna, 2014. "The Glass Ceiling in Politics: Formalization and Empirical Tests," Working Paper Series 1034, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    3. Bruce Bueno de Mesquita & Alastair Smith & Randolph M. Siverson & James D. Morrow, 2005. "The Logic of Political Survival," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262524406, September.
    4. David Bjerk, 2008. "Glass Ceilings or Sticky Floors? Statistical Discrimination in a Dynamic Model of Hiring and Promotion," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(530), pages 961-982, July.
    5. Claudia Goldin, 2014. "A Pollution Theory of Discrimination: Male and Female Differences in Occupations and Earnings," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital in History: The American Record, pages 313-348, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Gabriel S. Lenz & Chappell Lawson, 2011. "Looking the Part: Television Leads Less Informed Citizens to Vote Based on Candidates’ Appearance," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 55(3), pages 574-589, July.
    7. 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.
    8. Sarah F. Anzia & Christopher R. Berry, 2011. "The Jackie (and Jill) Robinson Effect: Why Do Congresswomen Outperform Congressmen?," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 55(3), pages 478-493, July.
    9. Timothy Besley & Olle Folke & Torsten Persson & Johanna Rickne, 2017. "Gender Quotas and the Crisis of the Mediocre Man: Theory and Evidence from Sweden," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(8), pages 2204-2242, August.
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    More about this item


    Dynasties; Gender representation; Gender quota; Sweden; Ireland;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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