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 find 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 effect penalizing women after a female incumbent.
Keywords: gender, elections, incumbency
JEL Classification: D72, J16, J71
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation