Why so Few Women in Politics? Evidence from India

33 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2013

See all articles by Mudit Kapoor

Mudit Kapoor

Indian School of Business

Shamika Ravi

Brookings Institution

Date Written: August 8, 2013

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Kapoor, Mudit and Ravi, Shamika, Why so Few Women in Politics? Evidence from India (August 8, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2307482 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2307482

Mudit Kapoor

Indian School of Business ( email )

Hyderabad, Gachibowli 500 019
India

Shamika Ravi (Contact Author)

Brookings Institution ( email )

1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

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