Persistence of Incumbents and Female Access to Political Positions

53 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2018 Last revised: 9 Feb 2019

Date Written: January 15, 2019


This article investigates whether the persistence of incumbents hinders female access to political positions when incumbents are predominantly men. I exploit regression discontinuity from close electoral races in French municipalities to randomize the eligibility of incumbent mayors for reelection. Despite a context increasingly favorable to the election of women, I fi nd that the persistence of incumbents does not block female access to the position of mayor. I investigate the mechanisms and show that it is more difficult for a woman to replace a female incumbent than a male one. This is consistent with a backlash or stereotype threat e ffect penalizing women after a female incumbent.

Keywords: gender, elections, incumbency

JEL Classification: D72, J16, J71

Suggested Citation

Lippmann, Quentin, Persistence of Incumbents and Female Access to Political Positions (January 15, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Quentin Lippmann (Contact Author)

Paris School of Economics ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014

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