What Happens When a Woman Wins an Election? Evidence from Close Races in Brazil
57 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2012 Last revised: 30 Aug 2015
Date Written: August 2015
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.
Keywords: gender, politics, corruption, patronage
JEL Classification: J16, P16, D72, I00, I18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation