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Is Women’s Political Representation Beneficial to Women’s Interests in Autocracies? Theory and Evidence from Post-Soviet Russia

Chapter in book
Authors Marina Nistotskaya
Helena Olofsdotter Stensöta
Published in Stensöta H., Wängnerud L. (eds) Gender and Corruption. Political Corruption and Governance.
Pages 145-167
ISBN 978-3-319-70928-4
Publisher Palgrave MacMillan
Place of publication Cham
Publication year 2018
Published at Quality of Government Institute (QoG)
Department of Political Science
Pages 145-167
Language en
Keywords Women political representation, autocracy, women in bureaucracy
Subject categories Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies), Political Science


Previous research has revealed a connection between increased women’s political representation (WPR) and responsiveness to women’s interests in democracies; however, our knowledge about this in non-democracies is practically non-existent. Building on the authoritarian regimes and on gender and informal institutions literatures, we theorize WPR effects in the context of autocratic regimes, explaining why the positive dynamics between WPR and women-friendly policy outcomes and outputs may be disrupted there. Employing an original dataset from 80 subnational political units in a large electoral autocracy (Russia), we find that larger numbers of women in regional legislatures are associated with higher rates of infant mortality, while the level of democracy moderates the relationship. The analysis reveals no association between higher numbers of women in senior bureaucratic posts and child mortality.

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