DP16605 Women Legislators and Economic Performance

Author(s): Thushyanthan Baskaran, Sonia Bhalotra, Yogesh Uppal
Publication Date: October 2021
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Programme Areas: Development Economics, Political Economy
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=16605

There has been a phenomenal global increase in the proportion of women in politics in the last two decades, but there is no evidence of how this influences economic perfor- mance. We investigate this using data on competitive elections to India's state assemblies, leveraging close elections to isolate causal effects. We find significantly higher growth in economic activity in constituencies that elect women and no evidence of negative spillovers to neighbouring male-led constituencies, consistent with net growth. Probing mechanisms, we â??find evidence consistent with women legislators being more efficacious, less corrupt and less vulnerable to political opportunism.