Do Electoral Quotas 'Work' After They Are Withdrawn? Evidence from a Natural Experiment in India

34 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2008 Last revised: 18 May 2018

Rikhil R Bhavnani

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Date Written: December 18, 2008

Abstract

Do electoral quotas for women alter women's chances of winning elections after they are withdrawn? I answer this question by examining an unusual natural experiment in India in which randomly chosen seats in local legislatures are set aside for women for one election at a time. Using data from Mumbai, I find that the probability of a woman winning office conditional on the constituency being reserved for women in the previous election is approximately five times the probability of a woman winning office if the constituency was not reserved for women previously. I also explore tentative evidence on the mechanisms by which reservations affect women's ability to win elections. The data suggest that reservations work in part by introducing into politics women who are able to win elections after reservations are withdrawn and by allowing parties to "learn" that women can win elections.

Keywords: quotas, women in politics, program evaluation

Suggested Citation

Bhavnani, Rikhil R, Do Electoral Quotas 'Work' After They Are Withdrawn? Evidence from a Natural Experiment in India (December 18, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1148421 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1148421

Rikhil R Bhavnani (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin-Madison ( email )

110 North Hall
1050 Bascom Mall
Madison, WI 53706-1481
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.rikhilbhavnani.com

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