Quotas Matter: The Impact of Gender Quota Laws on Work-Family Policies

Date: 

Thursday, April 6, 2017, 11:40am to 1:00pm

See also: Seminar Series

Location: 

WAPPP Cason Seminar Room, Taubman 102

Ana Catalano Weeks, WAPPP Fellow; College Fellow, Department of Government, Harvard University  

Do gender quotas matter to policy outcomes, or are they just `window dressing'? In this seminar, Ana Catalano Weeks discusses her findings from one of the first studies of the relationship between quota laws and policy outcomes across countries. She argues that after a quota law, we should expect to see change on issues characterized by gender gaps in preferences, especially if they lie off the main left-right (class-based) dimension in politics -- like maternal employment. She finds that implementing a quota law increases public spending on child care (which encourages maternal employment) and decreases spending on family allowances (which tends to discourage it). Evidence from fieldwork in Portugal and Italy suggests that quotas work by increasing women's leverage within parties and raising the overall salience of gender equality issues with the public and male party elites.