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Female politicians and economic growth: evidence from state elections in India

This research project has been completed. Please contact a team member for further information.


There is growing evidence that women politicians are relatively effective in protecting the interests of women and children. But is this at the cost of economic growth? The researchers investigate this using close elections between men and women in a regression discontinuity design. Using night luminosity as a measure of economic activity, they find significantly higher economic growth rates in constituencies from which women rather than men are elected to state legislative assemblies in India. Amongst mechanisms, they find evidence consistent with women being less corrupt, more effective at attracting state-level resources and more likely to improve access to roads.

Read the IZA Discussion Paper “Women Legislators and Economic Performance
(Thushyanthan Baskaran, Sonia R. Bhalotra, Brian Min, Yogesh Uppal)

Media coverage & outputs

Team members

Professor Sonia Bhalotra

Professor of Economics - ISER, University of Essex

Yogesh Uppal

Associate Professor of Economics - Youngstown State University

Thushyanthan Baskaran

Associate Professor - University of Göttingen

Brian Min

Research Associate Professor - Center for Political Studies, University of Michigan

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