Gender Quotas Become More Effective Over Time

In a forthcoming paper, Pamela Paxton & Melanie Hughes examine the effectiveness of legislative gender quotas. This is an important paper in many ways. Striking is for example their use of a latent growth curve model to overcome something I have always criticized, namely ignoring the trajectory a country is on — essentially the counterfactual. Substantively, they find that legal quotas have become more effective, they’re increasingly “having teeth”.

What I found a bit disappointing, though, is that there was no effort to capture changes in attitudes towards women as political leaders. While this particular analysis in my book is not as fancy as the Paxton & Hughes paper, I compare changes in attitudes with changes in quota provisions and changes in the number of women elected to national legislatures. Changes in attitudes were associated with changes in the legislatures; changes in quotas were not. Now, if quotas have become more effective after around 2005, this is entirely in line with the Paxton & Hughes paper, but what about the situation today?

Paxton, Pamela, and Melanie M. Hughes. 2015 forthcoming. “The Increasing Effectiveness of National Gender Quotas, 1990-2010.” Legislative Studies Quarterly.

Ruedin, Didier. 2013. Why Aren’t They There? The Political Representation of Women, Ethnic Groups and Issue Positions in Legislatures. Colchester: ECPR Press.

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