Norris, Pippa, and Drude Dahlerup. "On the Fast Track: The Spread of Gender Quota Policies for Elected Office." HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP15-041, July 2015.
What has driven the worldwide adoption and subsequent revision of gender quota policies? This study argues that this phenomenon can be best understood as exemplifying ‘glocalization’ – with policies adopted due to a combination of changing international discourses and regional diffusion combined with domestic political activists. Moreover a process of policy learning is evident; where the initial policies were relatively ineffective, by failing to ensure a more equitable gender balance in elected office, this spurs subsequent revisions. Empirical analysis supporting this interpretation draws on a new comprehensive cross-national dataset, The Gender Quota Database (GQD, Release 1.0 May 2014). Part I of the paper provides the theoretical framework and literature review. Part II summarizes the research design, data and evidence. Part III describes the use of the main types of gender quotas in politics in various regions of the world (as of May 2014), and discusses trends (waves) in the adoption and amendment of quotas. Part IV presents the results of the analysis of drivers behind the initial adoption of legal gender quotas. Both regional and domestic forces play a role in the initial adoption of gender quota policies, controlling for fixed socio-economic, political and cultural conditions. Part V considers policy-learning processes leading to subsequent revisions strengthening quota laws, focusing upon the lack of success when implementing earlier policies. The conclusion summarizes the key findings and considers their implications.