Do Gender Quotas Improve Political Participation? Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Delhi
I examine whether gender quotas have improved political participation and reduced the gender gap in politics for women in the context of Delhi. I disaggregate and measure political participation in general and context specific ways. I exploit the natural experiment of random quota assignment, where in 50% wards were randomly reserved for women in 2012 and 2017. I embed a two wave panel survey of 1500+ HHs across 18 wards in Delhi within this natural experiment to examine the difference in levels of participation and gender gap between reserved and non-reserved wards. Apart from women’s participation and gender gap outcomes, I examine whether quotas were able to mobilise both men and women in the context of anti-corruption protests, anti-rape/ sexual violence and environmental protests that have gripped Delhi since 2012 till date. Lastly, I embed a survey experiment to examine whether information about the quota policy or the gender of the councillor has any effect on perceptions of inclusion and democratic accountability in the political system. While previous studies have examined quotas at the village level, this is the first such study on the broader consequences of quota on citizens participation in an urban context.