Working Paper Series
Timothy Besley, Olle Folke
Gender Quotas and the Crisis of the Mediocre Man: Theory and Evidence from Sweden
(), Torsten Persson
() and Johanna Rickne
Abstract: Efforts to increase female political representation are
often thought to be at odds with meritocracy. This paper develops a
theoretical framework and an empirical analysis to examine this idea. We
show how the survival concerns of a mediocre male party leadership can
create incentives for gender imbalance and more incompetent men in office.
The predictions are tested with data on candidates in Swedish
municipalities over seven elections (1988-2010), where we use
administrative data on labor-market performance to craete a measure of the
competence of politicians. We investigate the effects of the "zipper"
quota, requiring party groups to alternate male and female names on the
ballot, unilaterally implemented by the Social Democratic party in 1993.
Far from being at odds with meritocracy, this quota increased the
competence of male politicians where it raised the share of female
representation the most.
Keywords: Gender quota; Competence; Political Selection; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: H70; J16; (follow links to similar papers)
62 pages, November 7, 2013
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