Quota shocks: electoral gender quotas and government spending priorities worldwide
The rapid expansion of electoral gender quotas in the past few decades has been met with considerable scholarly and public attention. Despite this, there has been little empirical work examining the global legislative consequences of gender quotas over time. Developing a unique time-series cross-sectional data set from 139 states during the peak period of quota adoption and implementation (1995–2012), we test whether and how quotas are associated with subsequent changes in government spending priorities. We find that substantial quota shocks—those associated with a large increase in women’s parliamentary representation—are followed by increased government expenditures toward public health. Further, we find that increases in health spending are offset by relative decreases in military spending and other spending categories. Our findings provide strong evidence that quota policies influence government priorities in historically feminized policy areas but principally when they are complied with and have substantial numerical consequences.
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