Women Political Leaders, Corruption and Learning: Evidence from a Large Public Program in India

51 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2013

See all articles by Farzana Afridi

Farzana Afridi

Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi

Vegard Iversen

University of Manchester

M.R. Sharan

Jameel Poverty Action Lab (JPAL)

Abstract

We use the nation-wide policy of randomly allocating village council headships to women to identify the impact of female political leadership on the governance of projects implemented under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in India. Using primary survey data, we find more program inefficiencies and leakages in village councils reserved for women heads: political and administrative inexperience make such councils more vulnerable to bureaucratic capture. When using a panel of audit reports, governance improves as female leaders accumulate experience. These results suggest that female political leadership may generate gains in governance but only after the initial, gendered disadvantages recede. Our findings highlight capacity building as necessary for bolstering the effectiveness of political quotas for women.

Keywords: political reservations, gender, NREGA, India

JEL Classification: P26, I38

Suggested Citation

Afridi, Farzana and Iversen, Vegard and Sharan, M.R., Women Political Leaders, Corruption and Learning: Evidence from a Large Public Program in India. IZA Discussion Paper No. 7212. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2223119

Farzana Afridi (Contact Author)

Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi ( email )

7, S.J.S. Sansanwal Marg
New Delhi
India

Vegard Iversen

University of Manchester ( email )

M.R. Sharan

Jameel Poverty Action Lab (JPAL) ( email )

66 bis avenue Jean Moulin
Paris, 75014
France

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