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Female Political Representation and Substantive Effects on Policies: A Literature Review

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  • Hessami, Zohal

    (Ruhr University Bochum)

  • Lopes da Fonseca, Mariana

    (University of St. Gallen)

Abstract

The share of women in political offices has increased considerably over the past few decades in almost every country in the world. Does this matter for policy outcomes? This is the first paper to provide a literature review on the substantive effects of female representation on policies. In developing countries, the increase in female political representation has caused a better provision of public goods, especially with regard to education and health. In developed countries, higher female representation has not affected public policies as measured by spending patterns. However, more recent evidence shows that female representation has induced changes in parliamentary deliberations and specific policy choices (e.g. more public child care) that may not be reflected in the observable composition of public spending. Finally, higher female representation has improved institutional quality by reducing corruption and rent-extraction by those in power.

Suggested Citation

  • Hessami, Zohal & Lopes da Fonseca, Mariana, 2020. "Female Political Representation and Substantive Effects on Policies: A Literature Review," IZA Discussion Papers 13125, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp13125
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    4. Eva Ranehill & Roberto A. Weber, 2022. "Gender preference gaps and voting for redistribution," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 25(3), pages 845-875, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    policy preferences; female politicians; gender; political selection; policy choices;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • H00 - Public Economics - - General - - - General
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy

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