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Campaigns, Descriptive Representation, Quotas, and Women's Political Engagement in Mexico

Dr. Lonna Atkeson, Dr. Yann Kerevel

Cover of Campaigns, Descriptive Representation, Quotas, and Women's Political Engagement in Mexico

To what extent does the presence of a competitive female legislative candidate influence women's political engagement in the context of a gender quota regime? Existing work on the effects of increasing descriptive representation on women's engagement suggests a positive effect, but less attention is paid to how gender quotas may alter the relationship. We develop and test two hypotheses, one suggesting female candidates positively influence women’s engagement, while the other suggests female candidates in a gender quota regime may create a backlash effect and negatively influence women’s engagement. We draw on two nationally representative post-election surveys from Mexico and original data on the number and competitiveness of female candidates to examine the influence of these candidacies on multiple measures of political engagement. Overall, our results are more consistent with a backlash effect. We find female legislative candidates have little positive effect on increasing political engagement among women.

Atkeson, Lonna R. and Yann P. Kerevel. 2017. “Campaigns, Descriptive Representation, Quotas, and Women's Political Engagement in Mexico.” Politics, Groups, and Identities 1-24.

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