Tuesday, October 22, 2013

There should be more female mayors

It is well known, and I have documented it before, that women behave differently from men in politics, in particular when it comes to policy priorities. While the various examples I have discussed before are interesting, it is difficult to ascertain that they generalize. Indeed, politics is fraught with social and local norms. We need more studies.

Fernanda Brollo and Ugo Troiano look at municipal elections in Brazil and concentrate on those where the mayoral seat was hotly contested between a male and a female candidate. One can thus consider that the electorate was essentially similar whether the female or the male won. The outcomes are damning for men. Whenever a woman became the mayor, health outcomes are better, corruption is lower, and the municipality gets more federal funding. To illustrate how men are politicizing relatively more, Brollo and Troiano find that male mayors up for reelection will hire many more temporary workers, a clear sign of electoral patronage.

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