Forthcoming at Legislative Studies Quarterly
Are women as effective as men at passing legislation? What are the institutional pathways through which gender affects bill approval? I argue that gender does not have a direct effect on a legislator’s ability to gain legislative approval. Instead, women are marginalized in their access to influential institutional positions – committee leadership positions, influential committee assignment, and bill content -- which may have consequences for bill approval. I examine these relationships using causal mediation analysis on bill data from Argentina from 1983 through 2007. I do not find a direct effect of gender on bill approval. Instead, women are negatively affected by their lack of access to committee leadership positions. While women do not experience legislative consequences directly, by virtue of being women, they do face indirect consequences through the positions they receive. This paper makes important methodological and substantive contributions to understanding relationships between gender and legislative outcomes.
Explaining Variation in Women's Substantive Representation
A longstanding assumption in the literature on women’s representation is that, once elected, descriptive representatives will legislate on behalf of women’s substantive interests. While the literature finds support for the notion that female representatives prioritize women’s substantive interests in their legislative behavior, considerable variation exists across women within countries. In this paper, I explore two factors that may explain why some women place greater emphasis on women’s equality issues than others: sense of job security and agenda setting power. I argue that female legislators with more job security, measured as seniority, and those with agenda setting power who hold legislative leadership positions may be more likely to introduce women’s equality bills than female legislators without these attributes. I test this using data on bills initiated by legislators in Argentina from 1983-2007. I find that more senior female legislators introduce more women’s equality bills while leadership has no effect.
Women's Legislative Representation
and State Ratification Behavior
and State Ratification Behavior
with Jessica Edry and Nicholas Coulombe
Do recent increases in women's representation in legislatures around the world have implications for international relations? We argue that greater representation of women in legislatures increases the likelihood of multilateral treaty ratification, especially human rights treaties. Drawing on findings of gender gaps in domestic policy preferences, we argue that women tend to be more supportive of institutional efforts to deal with collective issues. From this, we contend that, in countries where ratification depends upon legislative approval, legislatures are more likely to ratify multilateral treaties as the share of seats occupied by women increases. Additionally, we argue that women will be especially supportive of human rights treaties because these issues tend to align with women's domestic policy preferences. Therefore, we argue that the relationship between women's legislative representation and ratification should be stronger for human rights treaties compared to other issue areas. Using an expanded data set of 173 multilateral treaties, we find that countries become more likely to ratify human rights treaties as their levels of women's legislative representation increase. This study highlights how the question of who is in power matters for global developments.
All drafts available upon request.