Women at work: Gender quotas, municipal elections and local spending

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Gender quotas should foster women's presence in politics, which in turn may affect local policymaking. This paper investigates this mechanism, considering indicators of municipality spending in Italy as relevant policy outcomes. For identification, we rely on the time and geographic variation in the introduction of a gender quota reform by Law 215/2012. The reform affected gender composition of candidates in Italian municipal council elections, resulting in an increase of the share of female councilors of about 13.9 percentage points. Using the reform as an instrument, we estimate that a one percentage point increase in female participation in councils rises expenditure for local security by about 1% and reduces administration costs by a comparable amount, whereas evidence on the impact on other local expenditure items is mixed and not significant. Estimated effects are associated with compositional changes in terms of employment status of female councilors and are robust to endogeneity issues, to relevant sample selections and to the implications of confounding policies.




Andreoli, F., Manzoni, E., & Margotti, M. (2022). Women at work: Gender quotas, municipal elections and local spending. European Journal of Political Economy, 75. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2021.102175

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