Research Paper Harvard Business School Working Papers 14-035
Path-breakers? Women’s electoral success and future political participation
We investigate whether the event of a woman being competitively elected as a state legislator encourages the subsequent political participation of women, using a regression discontinuity design on constituency level data from India. We find that female incumbents are more likely than male incumbents to re-contest and that there is a decline in the entry of new women candidates. This decline is most pronounced in states with entrenched gender bias and in male-headed parties, suggesting an intensification of barriers against women in these areas. Similar results for (mostly male) Muslim candidates indicate the presence of institutionalized demand-side barriers rather than gender-specific preferences and constraints.