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Lakshmi Iyer, Associate Professor and Marvin Bower Fellow,
Harvard Business School
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 find that electoral victory for a woman leads to a large and significant increase in the share of female candidates from major political parties in the subsequent election. However, most of this is due to the increased propensity of previous candidates to run again; we do not find an increased entry of new female candidates and no change in female or male voter turnout. We construct a stylized model of political candidacy to investigate the mechanisms driving the increased share of female candidates. Our preliminary results suggest that a reduction in voter bias against women is the main mechanism, rather than an increase in the supply of potential women candidates or a reduction in party bias against women.
Lunch will be provided.
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