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Women Legislators in Africa and Foreign Aid

Kurt Annen and Henrietta A Asiamah

The World Bank Economic Review, 2023, vol. 37, issue 1, 1-23

Abstract: There has been a significant rise in the share of women legislators in Africa. What makes this fact puzzling is that it cannot be attributed to an African electorate that values gender equality and having women in political leadership positions. In stark contrast to this, gender equality and women’s empowerment have successively moved up in the priority list of the international donor community over the last two decades. This raises the question of whether there is a relationship between women legislators in Africa and foreign-aid allocations. This study finds a strong and statistically robust relationship: an increase in the share of women legislators from 15 to 20 percent is associated with an increase of about 4 percent in aid conditional on current levels of aid. Additionally, the study finds that democratic countries receive more aid but does not find an interaction effect between democracy and the share of women legislators, which suggests that donors do not tailor their gender-selective aid towards more democratic countries. The results provide evidence in support of aid selectivity for policies that improve gender equality in aid-recipient countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Keywords: foreign-aid allocations; women members of parliament; reserved seats; aid selectivity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2023
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