Why so Few Women in Politics? Evidence from India
33 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2013
Date Written: August 8, 2013
In this paper we analyze women as political candidates in a representative democracy. Using 50 years of assembly elections data at the constituency level from the Indian states, we show that women are more likely to contest elections in those constituencies where gender ratio of the electors is less in favor of women. For example, women are more likely to contest elections in backward states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh where the gender ratio of electors is in favor of men than in socially developed states like Kerala where the gender ratio of electors is more in favor of women. We present a “citizen candidates” model of representative democracy and show that our empirical results are consistent with the theoretical predictions of this model. Our results challenge existing policy of random reservation of seats for women.
Keywords: gender, median voter, political economy
JEL Classification: P16, J10, J11
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