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Women Political Leaders, Corruption and Learning: Evidence from a Large Public Program in India

Author

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  • Afridi, Farzana

    (Indian Statistical Institute)

  • Iversen, Vegard

    (University of Manchester)

  • Sharan, M.R.

    (Jameel Poverty Action Lab (JPAL))

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

  • Afridi, Farzana & Iversen, Vegard & Sharan, M.R., 2013. "Women Political Leaders, Corruption and Learning: Evidence from a Large Public Program in India," IZA Discussion Papers 7212, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7212
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    Cited by:

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    2. Xu, Guo, 2013. "Development through Empowerment: Delivering Effective Public Services – a Literature Review," ADB Economics Working Paper Series 382, Asian Development Bank.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Deininger,Klaus W. & Jin,Songqing & Nagarajan,Hari Krishnan & Singh,Sudhir K., 2020. "Political Reservation and Female Labor Force Participation in Rural India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9350, The World Bank.
    7. 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.
    8. Das, Upasak & Maiorano, Diego, 2019. "Post-clientelistic initiatives in a patronage democracy: The distributive politics of India’s MGNREGA," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 239-252.
    9. Ghosh, Prabhat & Kochar, Anjini, 2018. "Do welfare programs work in weak states? Why? Evidence from a maternity support program in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 191-208.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. Deininger, Klaus & Nagarajan, Hari K & Singh, Sudhir K, 2020. "Women's political leadership and economic empowerment: Evidence from public works in India," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 277-291.
    13. Chau, Nancy H. & Liu, Yanyan & Soundararajan, Vidhya, 2021. "Political activism as a determinant of strategic transfers: Evidence from an indian public works program," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 132(C).
    14. Thushyanthan Baskaran & Sonia Bhalotra & Brian Min & Yogesh Uppal, 2018. "Women legislators and economic performance," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2018-47, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    15. Gangadharan, Lata & Jain, Tarun & Maitra, Pushkar & Vecci, Joseph, 2019. "Female leaders and their response to the social environment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 256-272.
    16. Clive Bell & Abhiroop Mukhopadhyay, 2020. "Income Guarantees and Borrowing in Risky Environments: Evidence from India's Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 87(347), pages 763-812, July.
    17. Raphael Bruce & Alexsandros Cavgias, Luis Meloni, Mario Remigio, 2021. "Under Pressure: Women's Leadership During the COVID-19 Crisis," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2021_19, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).
    18. Misra, Kartik, 2019. "Does historical land inequality attenuate the positive impact of India’s employment guarantee program?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 1-1.
    19. Afridi, Farzana, 2017. "Governance and Public Service Delivery in India," IZA Discussion Papers 10856, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    20. Anukriti, S & Chakravarty, Abhishek, 2015. "Political Aspirations in India: Evidence from Fertility Limits on Local Leaders," IZA Discussion Papers 9023, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    political reservations; gender; NREGA; India;
    All these keywords.

    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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