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Working Paper No. 71

Comparative Regional Patterns in Electoral Gender Quota Adoption: A Social Network Approach

Amanda Clayton - February 2016 Download


To date, more than 100 countries have implemented some type of quota for women in their national legislatures, leading to one of the most significant developments in the global composition of legislative bodies in the past twenty-five years. One remaining puzzle in understanding the global diffusion of electoral gender quotas is the strong clustering of shared domestic quota policies by region. In this project, I examine the importance of dyadic relationships between countries, including shared membership in inter-governmental organizations (IGOs), regional organizations (ROs), and women’s international non-governmental organizations (WINGOs) in explaining the timing and type of quota adoption. To do this, I employ a social network approach to quantitatively model global and temporal trends in gender quota adoption. Controlling for other possible domestic and transnational determinants, my results indicate that the strongest predictor of quota policy adoption and design is the existence of similar policies in neighboring countries. These results suggest that, in the case of gender quota adoption, domestic policymakers see surrounding states as their most salient reference group when deciding both whether and how to implement new policy.