Department of Political Science

Daniel Finke

Do Gender Quotas undermine Party Discipline?

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Quotas are the most disputed instrument to promote equal representation of women. Today, political parties in more than 90 democracies apply them. Essentially, gender quotas are a manipulation of the electoral rules. Scholars of legislative politics have created an impressive knowledge on the effect of electoral rules on political behaviour. So far, this literature remains unconnected to the literature on gender quotas. Our study contributes to closing that research gap.
We argue that the introduction of gender quotas boosts competition among candidates of the same party. Yet, the effect of quota-induced competition on party discipline depends on the ballot structure. In case of unblocked ballots, quotas should decrease party discipline. In case of blocked ballots, it should reinforce the grip of the party leadership and thus strengthen party discipline. Importantly, this effect should hit male incumbents harder than their female colleagues.
On the empirical side, we study voting behaviour in the European Parliament, where one third of the deputies belong to parties which operate gender quotas. While our results support our general theory, we find the effect of gender quotas to be stronger for parties competing with unblocked lists.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of Legislative Studies
ISSN1357-2334
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2018

    Research areas

  • gender quotas, Legislative Behaviour, party leadership

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