Monday, July 11, 2011

Female reservation and political outcomes

Deininger, Jin, Nagarajan and Fang (2011) find that in rural India gender quotas led to decline in quality and negative impact on service delivery, it nevertheless have positive impact on women’s political participation, political accountability, and willingness to contribute to public goods. The abstract of the paper is as follows:

Although many studies have explored the impacts of political quotas for females, often with ambiguous results, the underlying mechanisms and long-term effects have received little attention. This paper uses nationwide data from India spanning a 15-year period to explore how reservations affect leader qualifications, service delivery, political participation, local accountability, and individuals’ willingness to contribute to public goods. Although leader quality declines and impacts on service quality are often negative, gender quotas are shown to increase the level and quality of women's political participation, the ability to hold leaders to account, and the willingness to contribute to public goods. Key effects persist beyond the reserved period and impacts on females often materialize only with a lag.

May be the Nepalese leaders and policymakers, who are ever-active in reserving quotas in all sectors for women, could learn something from the findings of this study.