Female-male participation in the Parliament. Are we ever going to converge to Scandinavia?
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Despite the fact that female political participation has been steadily growing over time with unseen effects on public policy, women representation in politics is substantially lower than their proportion in society. Several studies have identified factors that could explain part of the cross-national variation in women´s representation. However, there is still no consensus on a baseline model for women´s representation. Moreover, none of these studies has dealt with the possible endogenous relation of some of the factors considered. In this paper we investigate the determinants of women´s representation, using a GMM system estimation to address the possible endogeneity. To estimate our model, we employ a unique data set that covers data for 191 countries from 1972 to 2004, in 8 different geographical regions. We propose a dynamic model for women´s representation and calculate each region´s steady state. We find that, keeping everything else constant, different regions have different steady states. Although for most regions their steady-state is well above their current percentage, without changing other variables, no region is going to have more than 22% of women in parliament, with the exception of Scandinavian countries. Moreover, we find that 77 to 93% of the gap with Scandinavia is explained by female secondary enrollment, labor force participation, fertility rates and political and economic rights.
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