March 2023

IZA DP No. 15983: Women in Political Bodies as Policymakers

forthcoming in: Review of Economics and Statistics, 2024

We investigate how female representation impacts policymaking using the example of child care and new hand-collected data on local council elections in Bavaria. RDD estimations (mixed-gender races for last party-specific council seats) show that an additional female councilor accelerates the expansion of public child care by 40%. We also document an important nonlinearity: an additional woman accelerates the expansion of child care only in councils with few women. Council meeting minutes reveal that women can be effective in councils despite being a non-pivotal minority because they change "the conversation".