What Happens When a Woman Wins an Election? Evidence from Close Races in Brazil
University of Warwick - Department of Economics
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
We analyze close elections between male and female mayoral candidates in Brazilian municipalities to provide novel evidence on the role of women as policymakers. Using an objective measure of corruption based on random government audits, we find that female mayors are less likely to engage in corruption compared to male mayors. We also find that female mayors tend to hire less temporary public employees than male mayors, particularly during the electoral year, suggesting that they are less likely to engage in political patronage. Moreover, we find that female mayors have a lower reelection probability than male mayors. We interpret our findings as suggesting that, despite being more corrupt, male mayors are more likely to be reelected due to their involvement in patronage. We provide evidence that is inconsistent with some of the alternative explanations.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 57
Keywords: gender, politics, corruption, patronage
JEL Classification: J16, P16, D72, I00, I18
Date posted: February 6, 2012 ; Last revised: August 30, 2015