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Female Representation but Male Rule? Party Competition and the Political Glass Ceiling

Olle Folke and Johanna Rickne

No 923, Working Paper Series from Research Institute of Industrial Economics

Abstract: A large literature has studied the context that affects women’s numerical representation, but few have moved beyond numbers to study the drivers of a gender gap in political influence among elected politicians. Using panel data for the careers of 35.000 Swedish municipal politicians over six election cycles we first document the said gender gap. Women are substantially less likely to be re-elected for office, which is the most important pre-condition for obtaining influential appointments. Turing to the determinants we find that supply factors, primarily family responsibilities, explain some of this gap. Meanwhile, demand factors such as experience, age, education and income do not. Finding that competition between political parties closes the gap, we argue that a negative bias against women among party selectors thrives in contexts where meritocracy is not enforced. Positive correlations between competition and measures of competence for elected politicians of both genders further support this conclusion.

Keywords: Careers in politics; Political competition; Supply of politicians (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H10 J16 J21 J45 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 31 pages
Date: 2012-09-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-dem, nep-hme, nep-lab and nep-pol
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (3)

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Working Paper: Female representation but male rule? Party competition and the political glass ceiling (2012) Downloads
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