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Closing the Gender Gap in Leadership Positions: Can Expanding the Pipeline Increase Parity?

Author

Listed:
  • Brown, Ryan

    (University of Colorado Denver)

  • Mansour, Hani

    (University of Colorado Denver)

  • O'Connell, Stephen D.

    (Emory University)

Abstract

Gender gaps in leadership roles may be reduced by increasing the number of women in career stages that typically precede high-status positions. This can occur by increasing the supply of experienced women, inspiring new female candidates for these positions, and/or changing beliefs about women as leaders. In this study, we investigate whether and how adding women to a career pipeline can reduce gender gaps in higher-ranking positions over time. Specifically, we examine the effects of women's local electoral success on subsequent female candidacy at higher levels of government in India from 1977 to 2014. We use close elections won by women contesting state legislature seats to identify the effect of pipeline expansion on later candidacy for the national parliament. The results indicate that for each additional lower-level seat won by a woman, there is a 30 percent increase in the number of female candidates in subsequent national legislature elections. This effect is driven by new candidates and not by career politicians, and women receive a disproportionately favorable increase in the vote share. These effects are strongest in areas with low levels of existing female political participation and empowerment. The findings are consistent with a mechanism in which exposure reduces bias, allowing for updated beliefs about the viability of latent candidates who then run for higher office.

Suggested Citation

  • Brown, Ryan & Mansour, Hani & O'Connell, Stephen D., 2018. "Closing the Gender Gap in Leadership Positions: Can Expanding the Pipeline Increase Parity?," IZA Discussion Papers 11263, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11263
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Brollo, Fernanda & Troiano, Ugo, 2016. "What happens when a woman wins an election? Evidence from close races in Brazil," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 28-45.
    2. Ferreira, Fernando & Gyourko, Joseph, 2014. "Does gender matter for political leadership? The case of U.S. mayors," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 24-39.
    3. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ryan Brown & Hani Mansour & Stephen O'Connell & James Reeves, 2019. "Gender Differences in Political Career Progression: Evidence from U.S. Elections," CESifo Working Paper Series 7821, CESifo.
    2. Priyanka, Sadia, 2020. "Do female politicians matter for female labor market outcomes? Evidence from state legislative elections in India," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    gender gap; political candidacy; female politicians; India;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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