The political effects of female representation: Evidence from close races in the UK
40 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2021 Last revised: 20 Sep 2022
Date Written: December 22, 2021
Does the election of female politicians foster political participation among women? While it is often argued that representation promotes the participation of minorities and of women in particular, research on this has provided mixed results. This study contributes to this puzzle by collecting a novel dataset of over 300,000 local candidates in the UK and using a regression-discontinuity design with close elections to test whether the election of a female MP has an effect on the share of women running for local office as well as to provide a systematic overview of its attitudinal consequences. I find that the election of a female MP has no effect on the share of female local candidates, but increases the internal political efficacy of women. These results are important for our understanding of the effects of descriptive representation.
Keywords: political representation; gender; regression-discontinuity; women in politics; UK
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