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Do We Need More Women in Power? Gender, Public Policy, and Development in Bolivia

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Abstract

This paper evaluates the impacts of increasing female representation in Bolivian municipal councils on public policy choices and welfare outcomes. By combining detailed administrative panel data on municipal expenditures and revenues together with electoral data, an innovative regression discontinuity design (RDD) is applied. As opposed to previous studies, the RDD approach proposed is unique since it is implemented to systems of proportional representation. Findings indicate that municipalities with women councilors devote more resources to social investments. In particular, women politicians prioritize education, health, and environmental protection expenditures giving less attention to infrastructure investments. The impacts of higher female representation appear only some years after the elections, highlighting the importance of training and experience. Despite changes in public policy choices there is weak evidence on the links with final welfare outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Patricia Yáñez-Pagans, 2014. "Do We Need More Women in Power? Gender, Public Policy, and Development in Bolivia," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6741, Inter-American Development Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:idb:brikps:6741
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    File URL: http://publications.iadb.org/bitstream/handle/11319/6741/IDB-WP-542-Yanez-Pagans-Women-in-Power.pdf?sequence=1
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gender Equality; Women; Elections; Public expenditure; Female representation; Gender equality; Municipal councils; Public policy choices; Bolivia;

    JEL classification:

    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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