Gender Quotas and the Crisis of the Mediocre Man: Theory and Evidence from Sweden
How do political parties which are in competition with other parties under proportional representation, choose the composition of their lists with regard to gender and competence? Torsten Persson asks this question for Sweden. He has built a unique data set with rich individual data on all politicial candidates, in all parties, in all Swedish municipalities, since 1988. The data show that the elected shares of women and competent men both increase with the quality of the party leadership. He has investigated the effects of the “zipper” placement mandate unilaterally implemented by the Social Democratic Party in 1993, and finds that the quota raised (lowered) the competence of men in the municipalities relative to where the initial share of women was low (high).
Torsten Persson is Professor of Economics at Stockholm University and Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics. His work has spanned macroeconomics, international economics, and public economics, but he is most known for his articles and books on political economics.