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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 National Quotas

Contagion and the Adoption of National Quotas

(p.100) 6 Contagion and the Adoption of National Quotas
Contagious Representation

Frank C. Thames

Margaret S. Williams

NYU Press

This chapter examines two types of national quotas: compulsory party quotas, which require parties to nominate a certain percentage of female candidates; and reserved-seat quotas, which designate a certain proportion of seats for female legislators. In a statistical analysis of the onset and the incidence of both types of national quotas, the study found that the strongest predicator of national quota onset and incidence is regional diffusion. This is highlighted in an analysis of Ireland, wherein the probability of quota adoption increased steadily as the number of countries in Europe with a quota increased. The evidence for the impact of contagion on national quota adoption is mixed; women's legislative representation has either no impact or a negative impact on the adoption of quotas. However, the study did find evidence that the adoption of voluntary party quotas prompted the adoption of compulsory party quotas, suggesting that, once parties adopt such quotas, resistance to a national-level commitment to gender equity dissipates.

Keywords:   national quotas, compulsory party quotas, reserved-seat quotas, female legislators, regional diffusion, quota adoption, contagion, voluntary party quotas, gender equity

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