Women in Politics

Are Women Really the "Fairer" Sex?
Corruption and Women in Government


Numerous behavioral studies have found women to be more trust-worthy and public-spirited than men. These results suggest that women should be particularly effective in promoting honest government. Consistent with this hypothesis, we find that the greater the representation of women in parliament, the lower the level of corruption. We find this association in a large crosssection of countries; the result is robust to a wide range of specifications.

There exists a substantial literature in the social sciences which suggests that women may have higher standards of ethical behavior and be more concerned with the common good. Consistent with this micro-level evidence, we find that at the country level, higher rates of female participation in government are associated with lower levels of corruption. Increasing the presence of women in government may be valued for its own sake, for reasons of gender equality. However, our results suggest that there may be extremely important spinoffs stemming from increasing female representation: if women are less likely than men to behave opportunistically, then bringing more women into government may have significant benefits for society in general.