Female Representation but Male Rule? Party Competition and the Political Glass Ceiling

32 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2012

See all articles by Olle Folke

Olle Folke

Uppsala University - Department of Government

Johanna Karin Rickne

Stockholm University - Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI)

Date Written: November 22, 2012

Abstract

A large literature has studied the context that affects women’s numerical representation, but few have moved beyond numbers to study the drivers of a gender gap in political influence among elected politicians. Using panel data for the careers of 35.000 Swedish municipal politicians over six election cycles we first document the said gender gap. Women are substantially less likely to be re-elected for office, which is the most important pre-condition for obtaining influential appointments. Turing to the determinants we find that supply factors, primarily family responsibilities, explain some of this gap. Meanwhile, demand factors such as experience, age, education and income do not. Finding that competition between political parties closes the gap, we argue that a negative bias against women among party selectors thrives in contexts where meritocracy is not enforced. Positive correlations between competition and measures of competence for elected politicians of both genders further support this conclusion.

Keywords: Careers in politics, Political competition, Supply of politicians

JEL Classification: J45, J16, J21, H10

Suggested Citation

Folke, Olle and Rickne, Johanna Karin, Female Representation but Male Rule? Party Competition and the Political Glass Ceiling (November 22, 2012). IFN Working Paper No. 923, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2179521 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2179521

Olle Folke (Contact Author)

Uppsala University - Department of Government ( email )

Scheelevägen 15 D
SE-223 70
Lund
Sweden

Johanna Karin Rickne

Stockholm University - Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI) ( email )

Kyrkgatan 43B
SE-106 91 Stockholm
Sweden

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