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Gender Biases: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in French Local Elections

Jean-Benoît Eymeoud and Paul Vertier
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Jean-Benoît Eymeoud: Département d'économie
Paul Vertier: Département d'économie

No 78, Sciences Po publications from Sciences Po

Abstract: Women are under-represented in politics. In this paper, we test one of the potential explanations for this situation: gender-bias from voters. We use a natural experiment during French local elections in 2015: for the first time in this country, candidates had to run by pairs, which had to be gender-balanced. We argue that this reform confused some voters, who mighthave assumedthat the firstname on theballot representedthe "main" candidate. Since the order of the candidates on the ballot was determined by alphabetical order, the order of appearance of male and female candidates is as-good-as-random, and this setting allows us to isolate gender biases from selection effects. Our main result is that there exists a negative gender bias affecting right-wing candidates, who receive about 1.5 points lower shares of vote when the female candidate appears first on the ballot. The missing votes prevented some pairs of candidates from being elected. Using the fact that the candidates can (but do not have to) report additional information about themselves on the ballot, we show that this discrimination is likely to be statistical, since the most affected women are those running in pairs which do not report any information.

Keywords: Political Economy; Gender Discrimination; Voting Behavior (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-gen and nep-pol
Date: 2018-04
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