Women's Political Engagement Under Quota-Mandated Female Representation Evidence From a Randomized Policy Experiement

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Do affirmative action measures for women in politics change the way constituents view and interact with their female representatives? A subnational randomized policy experiment in Lesotho with single-member districts reserved for female community councilors provides causal evidence to this question. Using survey data, I find that having a quota-mandated female representative either has no effect on or actuallyreduces several dimensions of women’s self-reported engagement with local politics. In addition, implications from the policy experiment suggest that the quota effect is not accounted for by differences in qualifications or competence between the different groups of councilors, but rather stems from citizens’ negative reactions to the quota’s design.

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Last updated on 04/21/2015