Journal Article
Women and power: unpopular, unwilling, or held back?

We use Spain’s Equality Law to test for the existence of agency problems between party leaders and their constituents. The law mandates a 40 percent female quota on electoral lists in towns with populations above 5,000. Using pre- and postquota data by party and municipality, we implement a triple-difference design. We find that female quotas resulted in slightly better electoral results for the parties that were most affected by the quota. Our evidence shows that party leaders were not maximizing electoral results prior to the quota, suggesting the existence of agency problems that hinder female representation in political institutions.

Title
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsCasas-Arce P, Saiz A
JournalJournal of political Economy
Volume123
Issue3
Pagination641-669
Date Published06/2015
ISSN0022-3808
Abstract

We use Spain’s Equality Law to test for the existence of agency problems between party leaders and their constituents. The law mandates a 40 percent female quota on electoral lists in towns with populations above 5,000. Using pre- and postquota data by party and municipality, we implement a triple-difference design. We find that female quotas resulted in slightly better electoral results for the parties that were most affected by the quota. Our evidence shows that party leaders were not maximizing electoral results prior to the quota, suggesting the existence of agency problems that hinder female representation in political institutions.