Empowering Women as Political Actors: Can Information Affect Political Participation?

Rohini Pande, Mohammed Kamal Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Democratization and urbanization of developing societies may not necessarily translate into more equitable and efficient redistribution, especially along gender lines. Women often face cultural and social norms which limit their participation in politics, and their lower mobility (relative to men) implies that they often have less information about politics.

Rohini is conducting a series of rigorous randomized evaluations of nonpartisan information campaigns during the election period in rural and urban settings for the Legislative Assembly of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. Her study will provide much-needed empirical evidence on how indigent groups utilize information about their candidates at the local level. She will also infer whether the main constraint on accountability and governance is indeed lack of information. For civic society organizations, community leaders and other stakeholders, this field experiment will open an important window into understanding the impact of efforts to improve the delivery of information—and therefore services—to the urban poor.

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