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Contagious RepresentationWomen's Political Representation in Democracies around the World$
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Frank C. Thames and Margaret S. Williams

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814784174

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814784174.001.0001

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Contagion and the Adoption of Voluntary Party Quotas

Contagion and the Adoption of Voluntary Party Quotas

(p.76) 5 Contagion and the Adoption of Voluntary Party Quotas
Contagious Representation

Frank C. Thames

Margaret S. Williams

NYU Press

This chapter takes on voluntary party quotas and demonstrates how the contagion effect can explain the adoption of these quotas. The adoption and use of a voluntary quota represents a strong commitment by a party to increasing women's representation. In a statistical analysis of both the onset and the incidence of voluntary party quotas, several important factors were found that explain its use. The study found that left-leaning parties as well as larger parties and parties in wealthier countries are more likely to adopt quotas. With regard to contagion, the level of women's legislative representation affects both the timing and the use of voluntary party quotas. As the percentage of women in the legislature increased, the time to the adoption of a voluntary quota decreased and the probability of incidence increased. Thus, a national commitment to greater women's equality in the legislature pushed parties to adopt quotas.

Keywords:   voluntary party quotas, contagion, women's representation, left-leaning parties, women's legislative representation, women equality

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