Aug 2, 2011


Do Gender Quotas Affect Long-Term Political Outcomes?

  • Aug 2, 2011
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  • Some 100 countries have in place gender quotas, the practice of reserving political positions for women, to overcome long-standing gender inequalities, yet little is known about its long-term impact. A working paper by Klaus Deininger, Songqing Jin, Hari Nagarajan, and Xia Fang fills the gap. Drawing on 15 years of data from individual respondents in India, the authors explore how reservations affect leader qualifications, service delivery, political participation, local accountability, and individuals’ willingness to contribute to public goods, both during the "reserved" period and in the long term. India is particularly suitable for this analysis: in the early 1990s, it implemented policies to reserve leadership positions in one-third of its villages -- randomly chosen in each period -- along with far-reaching decentralization policies. As the reservation policy aims to bring to office women who would not have qualified otherwise, the short-term impact on leader quality is often negative. But gender quotas increase the level and quality of women's political participation, the ability to hold leaders to account and the willingness to contribute to public goods in the long term. The full impact often materializes only after a time delay, highlighting the importance of considering the longer-term impact to gain a full appreciation of the policy.

    Extracted from World Bank

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