Ishani Tewari
Yale University
Vishal Narayan
National University of Signapore
Working Paper
JEL Codes:
D10, J15, O10
● Household Response to Female Electoral Victories: Evidence from Indian State Elections
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Despite strong track records of social and economic development, women remain underrepresented across all levels of political leadership. We aim to understand voters attitudes towards newly elected female leaders by analyzing their household expenditures after an election. We estimate the impact of the winners gender in 1,319 Indian state elections on monthly post-election expenditures of 44,884 households. By leveraging close elections, we show that households in districts with more female winners spend lesser, indicating uncertainty about female political leadership. However, this effect depends crucially on the level of past exposure to female leaders. Households in districts with a sufficiently large proportion of female winners spend more. In subsequent analysis of household expenditures on education, we find that the negative effect of female leadership is more negative for households with majority female children than for other households. Households might react to increased uncertainty by spending disproportionately on male members.

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