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Women political leaders, corruption and learning: Evidence from a large public program in India

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  • Farzana Afridi

    () (Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi)

  • Vegard Iversen

    (Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester)

  • M.R. Sharan

    (Jameel Poverty Action Lab, South Asia)

Abstract

We use the nation-wide policy of randomly allocating village council headships to women to identify the impact of female political leadership on the governance of projects implemented under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in India. Using primary survey data, we find more program inefficiencies and leakages in village councils reserved for women heads: political and administrative inexperience make such councils more vulnerable to bureaucratic capture. When using a panel of audit reports, governance improves as female leaders accumulate experience. These results suggest that female political leadership may generate gains in governance but only after the initial, gendered disadvantages recede. Our findings highlight capacity building as necessary for bolstering the effectiveness of political quotas for women.

Suggested Citation

  • Farzana Afridi & Vegard Iversen & M.R. Sharan, 2013. "Women political leaders, corruption and learning: Evidence from a large public program in India," Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers 13-02, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India.
  • Handle: RePEc:ind:isipdp:13-02
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    Cited by:

    1. Boris Branisa & Carolina Cardona, 2015. "Social Institutions and Gender Inequality in Fragile States: Are They Relevant for the Post-MDG Debate?," Southern Voice Occasional Paper 21, Southern Voice.
    2. Xu, Guo, 2013. "Development through Empowerment: Delivering Effective Public Services – a Literature Review," ADB Economics Working Paper Series 382, Asian Development Bank.
    3. repec:eee:jeborg:v:151:y:2018:i:c:p:219-233 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Ghani, Ejaz & Mani, Anandi & O'Connell, Stephen D., 2013. "Can political empowerment help economic empowerment ? women leaders and female labor force participation in India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6675, The World Bank.
    5. Kodila-Tedika, Oasis, 2013. "Femmes au pouvoir et Pouvoir des femmes : Qu’est-ce qui se passe en Afrique ?
      [Women in power and power of women: What is happening in Africa?]
      ," MPRA Paper 48776, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Farzana Afridi & Abhiroop Mukhopadhyay & Soham Sahoo, 2016. "Female labor force participation and child education in India: evidence from the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-27, December.
    7. Bell, Clive & Mukhopadhyay, Abhiroop, 2015. "Income Guarantees and Borrowing in Risky Environments: Evidence from India's Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme," IZA Discussion Papers 9357, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Gupta, Bhanu & Mukhopadhyay, Abhiroop, 2016. "Local funds and political competition: Evidence from the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in India," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 14-30.
    9. Sofia Amaral & Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay & Rudra Sensarma, 2015. "Public Work Programs and Gender-based Violence: The Case of NREGA in India," Discussion Papers 15-09, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
    10. Jha, Chandan Kumar & Sarangi, Sudipta, 2018. "Women and corruption: What positions must they hold to make a difference?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 151(C), pages 219-233.
    11. Afridi, Farzana, 2017. "Governance and Public Service Delivery in India," IZA Discussion Papers 10856, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Anukriti, S & Chakravarty, Abhishek, 2015. "Political Aspirations in India: Evidence from Fertility Limits on Local Leaders," IZA Discussion Papers 9023, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    political reservations; gender; NREGA; India;

    JEL classification:

    • P26 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Political Economy
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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