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The Role of Female Agency in Politics: A Global Study, 1850-2000

  • Selin Dilli

    (Universiteit Utrecht)

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    Over the last 200 years, an upward trend in democracy has been observed both cross-nationally and within nations. Previous studies attributed a major role to the developmental, historical, and more recently diffusional characteristics in explaining this democratization process. Although these predictors are robust predictors of democracy, they neglect the role of gender inequalities in democratic outcomes. In its attempt to overcome this shortcoming, this study introduces the concept of “female agency” to study the impact of gender inequalities on the democratization process. The results of both panel data and cross sectional data analysis show that women’s unequal position, both in the private and in the public sphere, are meaningful sources of explanation for within and cross national differences in democracy. This implies that future studies in democratization should include a gendered and capability perspective to have a full understanding of the underlying mechanisms.

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    Paper provided by Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History in its series Working Papers with number 0038.

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    Length: 42 pages
    Date of creation: Jan 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ucg:wpaper:0038
    Contact details of provider: Postal: University of Utrecht, Drift 10, The Netherlands
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    1. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-79, April.
    2. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A & Yared, Pierre, 2007. "Reevaluating the Modernization Hypothesis," CEPR Discussion Papers 6430, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Guido Tabellini, 2010. "Culture and Institutions: Economic Development in the Regions of Europe," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 677-716, 06.
    4. Anand Swamy & Stephen Knack & Young Lee & Omar Azfar, 2000. "Gender and Corruption," Center for Development Economics 158, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    5. Edward Glaeser & Giacomo Ponzetto & Andrei Shleifer, 2006. "Why Does Democracy Need Education?," NBER Working Papers 12128, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Sarah Carmichael & Tine De Moor & Jan Luiten van Zanden, 2011. "“When the heart is baked, don’t try to knead it”: Marriage age and spousal age gap as a measure of female ‘agency’," Working Papers 0019, Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History.
    7. Acemoglu,Daron & Robinson,James A., 2009. "Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521671422.
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