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Women and Power: Unwilling, Ineffective, or Held Back?

  • Casas-Arce, Pablo

    ()

    (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

  • Saiz, Albert

    ()

    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

We develop a model that nests previous explanations for women under-representation in positions of power. Focusing on democratic electoral dynamics, our framework delineates the three types of mechanisms that may be at play: consumer demand, candidate supply, and internal party dynamics beyond electoral markets. We use Spain's Equality Law, requiring a 40 percent female quota in electoral lists, to test the alternative theories. The law was enacted by the social-democratic party after the surprise parliamentary electoral results following the Madrid terrorist bombings, and was therefore completely unexpected by regional political machines. The law only applied to towns with populations above 5000, so we can use a treatment-control, before-and-after discontinuity design to learn about the impact of female politicians in local elections. Our evidence is most consistent with the existence of entrenched male-dominated political machines capturing influential power positions within the parties.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5645.

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Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5645
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  1. Joseph Price & Justin Wolfers, 2010. "Racial Discrimination Among NBA Referees," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1859-1887.
  2. Lori A. Beaman & Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo & Rohini Pande & Petia Topalova, 2008. "Powerful Women: Does Exposure Reduce Bias?," NBER Working Papers 14198, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Reuben, Ernesto & Rey-Biel, Pedro & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2010. "The Emergence of Male Leadership in Competitive Environments," IZA Discussion Papers 5300, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2005. "Do Women Shy Away from Competition? Do Men Compete too Much?," Discussion Papers 04-030, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  5. John Knowles & Nicola Persico & Petra Todd, 1999. "Racial Bias in Motor Vehicle Searches: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7449, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Clots-Figueras, Irma, 2007. "Are female leaders good for education? : Evidence from India," UC3M Working papers. Economics we077342, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
  7. Manuel F. Bagüés & Berta Esteve-Volart, 2007. "Can gender parity break the glass ceiling? Evidence from a repeated randomized experiment," Working Papers 2007-15, FEDEA.
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  9. Albert Saiz & Susan M. Wachter, 2006. "Immigration and the neighborhood," Working Papers 06-22, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  10. De Paola, Maria & Scoppa, Vincenzo & Lombardo, Rosetta, 2010. "Can gender quotas break down negative stereotypes? Evidence from changes in electoral rules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(5-6), pages 344-353, June.
  11. Tiago V. De V. Cavalcanti & José Tavares, 2011. "Women Prefer Larger Governments: Growth, Structural Transformation, And Government Size," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 49(1), pages 155-171, 01.
  12. Berta Esteve-Volart & Manuel F. Bagües, 2009. "Are Women Pawns in the Political Game? Evidence from Elections to the Spanish Senate," Working Papers 2009-30, FEDEA.
  13. Patricia Funk & Christina Gathmann, 2015. "Gender gaps in policy making: evidence from direct democracy in Switzerland," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 30(81), pages 141-181.
  14. Ayres, Ian & Siegelman, Peter, 1995. "Race and Gender Discrimination in Bargaining for a New Car," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 304-21, June.
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