Descriptive Representation and the Allocation of Policy-Making Authority: Evidence from Women in Cabinets and Bureaucracies
Posted: 29 Nov 2005 Last revised: 20 Jan 2015
Date Written: 2007
We examine forces for the descriptive representation of women in ministerial and sub-ministerial positions. We offer a unified model in which portfolio allocation makes political forces for descriptive representation more important in the case of ministerial lines; in contrast, labor market forces determine the extent of descriptive representation in sub-ministerial lines. We provide evidence for this claim from data for 72 countries and show that the advancement of women into ministerial posts depends on the form of electoral system and presence of women in the legislature (conditional on being in a parliamentary system). In contrast, the sub-ministerial representation for women depends on the supply of women in the workforce. Additionally, the increased incidence of women in ministerial lines is associated with an increase in representation in sub-ministerial lines.
Keywords: Descriptive representation, gender, cabinet, bureaucracy, portfolio allocation
JEL Classification: J16, D73, D78
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation