Social Identity

Does Female Leadership Impact on the Quality of Public Goods? Evidence from a Public Poverty Alleviation Programme in Andhra Pradesh, India

  • Blog Post Date 01 April, 2012
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Farzana Afridi

Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi Centre

fafridi@isid.ac.in

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Vegard Iversen

Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad

vegard@iima.ac.in

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M.R. Sharan

Harvard Kennedy School

sharanidli@gmail.com

This project used the nationwide policy of randomly allocating village council headships to women to identify the impact of female political leadership on the governance of projects implemented under MNREGA. Using primary survey data, it finds more programme inefficiencies and leakages in village councils reserved for women heads: political and administrative inexperience make such councils more vulnerable to bureaucratic capture. When using a panel of audit reports, governance improves as female leaders accumulate experience. These results suggest that female political leadership may generate gains in governance but only after the initial, gendered disadvantages recede.

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