Does Women’s Political Participation Respond to Electoral Success?

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IZA Seminar

Place: Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 9, 53113 Bonn

Date: 16.04.2013, 12:15 - 13:30


Presentation by 

Sonia R. Bhalotra (University of Essex)


We examine whether women’s electoral success induces greater female political participation in subsequent elections. Using the regression discontinuity afforded by close elections between women and men and constituency level data on India’s state elections for 1980-2007, we show that electoral victory for a woman leads to no change in female or male turnout, but to a large and significant increase in the share of female candidates from major political parties in the subsequent election. This increase is attributable both to the entry of new female candidates and the tendency for incumbents to stand for election again. It persists to at least the next election, ten years after the driving election outcome. Preliminary results suggest that the mechanism driving the increases in female candidacy is an updating of party bias, we find little evidence of voter bias against women in our data. The finding that new women appear as candidates in response to women having won in their constituency indicates a positive dynamic that could drive continued increases in women’s participation in politics.

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