Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie A., ed. 2018.
Gender and Representation in Latin America.
New York: Oxford University Press.

Book Overview: In the past thirty years, women’s representation and gender equality has developed unevenly in Latin America. Some countries have experienced large increases in gender equality in political offices, whereas others have not, and even within countries, some political arenas have become more gender equal whereas others continue to exude intense gender inequality. These patterns are inconsistent with explanations of social and cultural improvements in gender equality leading to improved gender equality in political office. Gender and Representation in Latin America argues instead that gender inequality in political representation in Latin America is rooted in institutions and the democratic challenges and political crises facing Latin American countries and that these challenges matter for the number of women and men elected to office, what they do once there, how much power they gain access to, and how their presence and actions influence democracy and society more broadly. The book draws upon the expertise of top scholars of women, gender, and political institutions in Latin America to analyze the institutional and contextual causes and consequences of women’s representation in Latin America. It does this in part 1 with chapters that analyze gender and political representation regionwide in each of five different “arenas of representation”—the presidency, cabinets, national legislatures, political parties, and subnational governments. In part 2, it provides chapters that analyze gender and representation in each of seven different countries—Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia.The authors bring novel insights and impressive new data to their analyses, helping to make this one of the most comprehensive books on gender and political representation in Latin America today.

Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie A. and Margit Tavits. 2016.
Clarity of Responsibility, Accountability, and Corruption.
New York: Cambridge University Press.

Book Reviews:

Book Endorsements

Kittilson, Miki Caul and Leslie A. Schwindt-Bayer. 2012.
The Gendered Effects of Electoral Institutions: Political Engagement and Participation.
Oxford: Oxford University Press (Comparative Politics Series).
Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie A. 2010.
Political Power and Women's Representation in Latin America.
New York: Oxford University Press.


Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie A. and Catherine Reyes-Housholder. 2017.
“Citizen Responses to Female Executives: Is It Sex, Novelty or Both?”
Politics, Groups, & Identities 5(3): 373-398.

Abstract: Women increasingly have been elected to executive office – both at the national and subnational level – in countries throughout the world. Yet, we know little about the effects that the election of a woman to executive office has on citizen attitudes, political engagement, or political participation. In this paper, we argue that the election of a woman to an executive could have effects through the presence of a woman in the executive, the novelty of a woman assuming executive office, or both. We test these hypotheses with a survey experiment conducted in Brazil that focuses on the election of a hypothetical female governor. This project sheds light on how citizens respond to female executives with a causal analysis in an important region for gender and executive politics.

Esarey, Justin and Leslie A. Schwindt-Bayer. Forthcoming.
"Women’s Representation, Accountability, and Corruption"
British Journal of Political Science.

Abstract: At the turn of the twenty-first century, an important pair of studies established that greater female representation in government is associated with lower levels of perceived corruption in that government. But recent research finds that this relationship is not universal and questions why it exists. This paper presents a new theory explaining why women’s representation is only sometimes related to lower corruption levels and provides evidence in support of that theory. We argue that the women’s representation-corruption link is strongest when the risk of corruption being detected and punished by voters is high—in other words, when officials can be held electorally accountable. Multiple mechanisms underlie this theory: prior evidence shows that (a) women are more risk-averse than men, and (b) voters hold women to a higher standard at the polls. This leads us to believe that gender differences in corrupt behavior are proportional to the strength of electoral accountability. Consequently, we predict that the empirical relationship between greater women’s representation and lower perceived corruption will be strongest in democracies with high electoral accountability, specifically: (a) where corruption is not the norm, (b) where press freedom is respected, (c) in parliamentary systems, and (d) under personalistic electoral rules. We present observational evidence that electoral accountability moderates the link between women’s representation and corruption in a time series cross sectional data set of 76 democratic-leaning countries.

Crisp, Brian F., Betul Demirkaya, Leslie Schwindt-Bayer, and Courtney Millian. Forthcoming.
"The Role of Rules in Representation: Group Membership and Electoral Incentives"
British Journal of Political Science.

Abstract: Existing research shows that the election of members of previously underrepresented groups can have significant consequences for policymaking. Yet, quotas, reserved seats, communal rolls, and race-conscious districting make it difficult to distinguish whether it is group membership, electoral incentives, or a combination of the two that matters. It is argued here that lawmakers who are members of underrepresented groups will stand out as defenders of their group’s interests only when electoral rules incentivize them to do so. This is demonstrated empirically using data from New Zealand, showing that Māori Members of Parliament systematically vary in the extent to which they represent their ethnic group as a function of the three different sets of rules under which they were elected.

Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie A. and Peverill Squire. 2014.
"Legislative Power and Women's Representation"
Politics & Gender 10(4): 622-628.

Abstract: In this study, we argue that the power of legislatures, as institutionalized in constitutions, legislative rules, and informal legislative norms, is an important, but long overlooked, explanation for women's legislative representation in comparative politics. Specifically, we offer a two-dimensional conceptualization of legislative power that distinguishes institutional policy power from personal professional power and then empirically test the effects of legislative power with a statistical analysis of 149 countries in the late 2000's. We find that legislatures with higher levels of personal professional power have significantly fewer women represented, but institutional policy power has little effect.

Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie A. 2014.
"Women's Representation in Latin American Legislatures: Current Challenges and New Directions."
Revista Uruguaya de Ciencia Política 23(2): 15-35.

Abstract: The growing number of women elected to national legislatures in Latin America has led to significant scholarly attention on the consequences of women's presence in office. In this essay, I offer a brief overview of the literature on women's substantive representation around the world and evaluate research on Latin America, specifically, in the context of six current debates. I suggest several ways that scholars of women's representation in Latin America can address the challenges provided by these debates and move the field in new directions. This will contribute to the growing literature on women's substantive representation, keeps Latin America at the forefront of it, and helps scholars, activists, and politicians better understand how Latin American legislatures are representing women and women's interests.

Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie A. 2011.
"Women Who Win: Social Backgrounds, Paths to Power, and Political Ambition in Latin American Legislatures"
Politics & Gender 7(1): 1-33.

Abstract: Research on women in Latin American politics in the 1960's, 1970's, and 1980's showed that very few women ran for and won political office and those who did often did not fit the mold of the typical legislator. Yet, significant cultural, social, and political changes have occurred over the past thirty years and few studies have re-examined the types of women who win political office in the region today. In this paper, I examine the social backgrounds, paths to power, and political ambition of women and men elected to national legislatures in Argentina, Colombia, and Costa Rica. I argue that women and men are likely to be more similar than different given the tight constraints imposed on legislative candidates in democratic elections and empirically examine this with data from an original survey of legislators conducted in 2001-2002. I find that, indeed, women are men are quite similar on an array of characteristics. Women who win elected office in Latin America today do so by playing the traditional, male-defined, political game.

Kittilson, Miki Caul and Leslie A. Schwindt-Bayer. 2010.
"Engaging Citizens: The Role of Power-Sharing Institutions"
Journal of Politics 72(4): 990-1002.

Abstract: Drawing on established theories of comparative political institutions, we argue that democratic institutions carry important messages that influence mass attitudes and behaviors. Power-sharing political institutions signal to citizens that inclusiveness is an important principle of a country's democracy and can encourage citizens to participate in politics. Applying multilevel modeling to data from the World Values Survey, we test whether democratic institutions influence political engagement in thirty-four countries. Further, we examine whether underrepresented groups, specifically women, are differentially affected by the use of power-sharing institutions such that they are more engaged in politics than women in countries with power-concentrating institutions. We find that disproportional electoral rules dampen engagement overall and that gender gaps in political engagement tend to be smaller in more proportional electoral systems, even after controlling for a host of other factors. Power-sharing institutions can be critical for explaining gender differences in political engagement.

Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie A., Michael Malecki, and Brian Crisp. 2010.
"Candidate Gender and Electoral Success in Single Transferable Vote Systems."
British Journal of Political Science, 40(3): 693-709. (Article copyrighted by Cambridge University Press)

Abstract: Most comparative, cross-national work on women's representation tries to explain differences in the percentage of seats held by women using aggregate-level factors such as socioeconomic development, political culture, or electoral institutions. We offer an alternative approach to the study of women's representation. We study it from the level of the individual candidate, examining whether a candidate's gender systematically works against (or for) him or her and whether the individual, party, and district characteristics that typically determine electoral success for male candidates have different effects for female candidates. We examine this in the three national legislatures with single-transferable vote electoral systems - Australia, Ireland, and Malta. We find that the effect of candidate gender on the share of votes that candidates receive and their probability of winning legislative seats varies across countries and that some of the factors which help male candidates get elected work differently for female candidates.

Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie A. 2010.
"Comparison and Integration: A Path Toward a Comparative Politics of Gender."
Perspectives on Politics, 8(1): 177-182.

Abstract: Moving from a "gender and comparative politics" to a "comparative politics of gender" is a challenging proposition. In this paper, I offer two mechanisms for doing this - emphasizing the comparative nature of gender politics research and encouraging greater integration of gender research into the subfield of comparative politics. I illustrate how current research generally uses a "gender and comparative politics" approach that is insufficient for advancing the field and then describe how scholars can work to emphasize greater comparison and integration in the literature. This will help to move the gender and politics literature toward a comparative politics of gender.

Johnson, Gregg B. and Leslie A. Schwindt-Bayer. 2009.
"Economic Accountability in Central America."
Journal of Politics in Latin America, 1(3): 33-56.

Abstract: Representative democracy hinges upon the notion of accountability. We examine the mediating effects of political context on economic accountability in a hostile environment - the developing democracies of Central America. We test whether clarity of responsibility mediates the economy's effects on citizens' support for the president using approval ratings. In general, we find that a good economy increases public support for the president significantly more under unified government, but surprisingly that a bad economy decreases public support for the president far more under divided government. Dynamic simulations show these effects become more pronounced during sustained periods of economic expansion or contraction.

Dettrey, Bryan and Leslie A. Schwindt-Bayer. 2009.
"Presidential Institutions and Voter Turnout"
Comparative Political Studies, 42(10): 1317-1338.

Abstract: Numerous studies indicate that political institutions play an important role explaining variation in voter turnout across countries. The nuances of institutions unique to presidential elections have been largely overlooked, however, despite the different incentives they offer for voters to participate in elections. In this paper, we examine the effect that four presidential institutions have on voter turnout in presidential elections between 1974 and 2004 - the timing of elections (whether concurrent or non-concurrent), the power of the presidency, presidential electoral rules (plurality or majority run-off), and reelection rules. To isolate the effect of presidential institutions, we control for other likely influences on turnout including the economic environment and the wider political context. We find that run-off elections dampen turnout while incumbency spurs it, but more powerful presidencies and elections held concurrently with legislative elections have little effect on voter participation.

Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie A. 2009.
"Making Quotas Work: The Effect of Gender Quota Laws on the Election of Women."
Legislative Studies Quarterly, 34(1): 5-28

Abstract: Gender quota laws are intended to increase the number of women elected to legislatures, but initial evidence suggests that many laws have had little effect. I present a cross-national, statistical test that analyzes how three key dimensions of candidate quota laws affect women’s representation. My results show that quotas that require more women to be on party ballots lead to the election of more women, independent of placement mandates and enforcement mechanisms, but rules governing where female candidates are listed on the ballot and sanctions for noncompliance amplify that effect. Candidate quotas can increase women’s representation, but the quotas’ effectiveness depends on their design.

Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie A. 2006.
"Still Supermadres? Gender and the Policy Priorities of Latin American Legislators"
American Journal of Political Science, 50(3): 570-585

Abstract: In 1979, Elsa Chaney described women in politics in Latin America as "supermadres" - women who viewed their political roles as an extension of the roles as wives and mothers. Since Chaney's writing, significant changes have occurred in women's status in Latin America, but we know very little about how women legislate today in Latin America. In this paper, I examine the effect of gender on legislators' policy attitudes and bill initiation behavior in three Latin American countries - Argentina, Colombia, and Costa Rica. I argue that sex role changes in Latin America over the past thirty-five years have led to changes in how female legislators perceive their political roles, and consequently, their attitudes and behavior. Specifically, female legislators will place higher preference than male legislators on women's issues and children/family concerns, but their attitudes on other policy areas, such as education, health, the economy, agriculture, and employment, will be similar. However, I expect that gender dynamics in the legislative arena lead to marginalization of women such that gender differences will emerge for bill initiation behavior where they did not appear for attitudes. I test this using a survey of legislators' policy preferences and archival data on the bills that legislators sponsor.

Journal Rights: The full text PDF file is an electronic version of an article published in the American Journal of Political Science. Complete citation information for the final version of the paper, as published in the print edition of the American Journal of Political Science, is available from the Wiley Online Library...

Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie A. 2005.
"The Incumbency Disadvantage and Women's Election to Legislative Office"
Electoral Studies, 24(2): 227-244

Abstract: An important explanation for the underrepresentation of women in legislatures may be incumbency. When the vast majority of incumbents are men, as is the case in most national legislatures, incumbency emerges as a male advantage that could hinder the election of women. However, there has been no multi-country - cross-institutional, cross-socioeconomic - study of the relationship between incumbency and women's descriptive representation. Using time-serial data on thirty-three national legislatures, I examine whether incumbency is a disadvantage for women's election. I find that higher retention rates lead to fewer women winning office after controlling for socioeconomic factors, gender quotas, and electoral rules. Further, term limits, although not designed to promote the election of women, have a positive side effect for women's representation.

Journal Rights: The full text PDF file is an electronic version of an article published in Electoral Studies. To view the Electoral Studies formatted version of the paper, please go to...

Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie A. and William Mishler. 2005.
"An Integrated Model of Women's Representation" - Awarded "Best Paper"!
The Journal of Politics, 67(2): 407-428.

Abstract: The concept of representation, as developed in Hanna Pitkin's seminal work, is a complex structure, whose multiple dimensions are hypothesized to be closely interconnected. Most empirical work, however, ignores the integrated character of representation and examines its several dimensions in isolation. The picture of representation that results is not so much incorrect as incomplete. This research tests an integrated model of representation linking formal, descriptive, substantive, and symbolic representation. Data on the representation of women in 31 democracies confirms the interconnections among the several dimensions of representation. The structure of electoral systems exerts powerful influences on both women’s descriptive representation and symbolic representation. Descriptive representation, in turn, increases legislatures' responsiveness to women's policy concerns and enhances perceptions of legitimacy. The effects of substantive representation, however, are much less than theory anticipates.

Awarded "Best Paper" published in The Journal of Politics for 2005 by the Southern Political Science Association!
Heath, Roseanna Michelle, Leslie A. Schwindt-Bayer, and Michelle M. Taylor-Robinson. 2005.
"Women on the Sidelines: Women's Representation on Committees in Latin American Legislatures"
American Journal of Political Science, 49(2): 420-436

Abstract: This article explores how new groups can be marginalized after they gain representation in the legislature. We use data from six Latin American legislatures to examine the effect of institutional and political factors on how traditionally dominant male political leaders distribute scarce political resources-committee assignments-to female newcomers. In general, we find that women tend to be isolated on women's issues and social issues committees and kept off of power and economics/foreign affairs committees as the percentage of legislators who are women increases, when party leaders or chamber presidents control committee assignments, and when the structure of the committee system provides a specific committee to deal with women's issues. Thus, to achieve full incorporation into the legislative arena, newcomers must do more than just win seats. They must change the institutions that allow the traditionally dominant group to hoard scarce political resources.

Journal Rights: The full text PDF file is an electronic version of an article published in the American Journal of Political Science. Complete citation information for the final version of the paper, as published in the print edition of the American Journal of Political Science, is available from the Wiley Online Library...

Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie A. and Renato Corbetta. 2004.
"Gender Turnover and Roll Call Voting in the U.S. House of Representatives"
Legislative Studies Quarterly, 29(2): 215-229

Abstract: A number of studies suggest that the gender of a legislator affects his or her congressional ideology. We argue that these studies may have produced misleading results because of insufficient controls for constituency influences. To better account for constituency effects, we use a longitudinal research design based on electoral turnover, which holds constituency constant while allowing gender and party to vary. We apply OLS regression to data from the 103rd, 104th, and 105th Houses of Representatives and estimate the effect of gender turnover on changes in DW-NOMINATE roll call voting scores. We find that when both party and constituency influences are sufficiently controlled, gender is not a determinant of the liberalness of a representative's roll call voting behavior.


Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie A., Justin Esarey, and Erika Schumacher. 2018.
“Gender and Citizen Responses to Corruption among Politicians: The U.S. and Brazil”
Gender and Corruption: Revising relationships and establishing new avenues for research,
eds. Helena Stensöta and Lena Wängnerud. London: Palgrave.

Abstract: Schwindt-Bayer, Esarey, and Schumacher evaluate whether voters perceive of comparable male and female candidates differently in terms of how likely they are to be involved in a corruption scandal and punish them differently when they are involved in corruption. We conducted survey experiments in two countries, the United States (with high electoral accountability) and Brazil (with moderate to low electoral accountability) to determine if differential treatment is the causal mechanism linking women’s representation and corruption. We find only weak and statistically uncertain evidence that citizens perceive women as less corruptible than men in both countries, and we find no evidence that they punish women more harshly than men for corruption scandals.

Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie A. and Santiago Alles. 2018.
“Women in Legislatures: Gender, Institutions, and Democracy”
Gender and Representation in Latin America, ed. Leslie A. Schwindt-Bayer. New York: Oxford University Press, 56-73.

Abstract: In this chapter, Schwindt-Bayer and Alles argue that the influx of women into Latin American legislatures has been substantial, but once in office, women have struggled to attain full access to political power. They present a statistical analysis that shows that the main explanations for variation in women’s representation lie with gender quotas and party system fragmentation. They show that women in national legislatures have brought women’s issues to the legislative arena, and they provide a new analysis showing that female legislators are more supportive of liberal gender equality, abortion, and divorce laws. However, they argue that women have not gained access to diverse committee leadership posts or served in top chamber leadership posts to the same extent as men. Finally, they show that the presence of women in legislatures has had important effects on citizen support for female political leaders, political engagement and participation, and supportiveness of representative democracy.

Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie A. and Catherine Reyes-Housholder. 2017.
"Gender and Institutions in Post-Transition Executives"
Women Presidents and Prime Ministers in Post-Transition Democracies, ed. Verónica Montecinos. Palgrave, 81-99.

Abstract: Significant research has examined the rise of women to positions of parliamentary and legislative power throughout the world. Much less research has considered women as executives, although this is rapidly changing. Yet, even with this new research on executives, very little of it has focused on what women do once elected to executive office, and it has often overlooked post-transition democracies. Post-transition democracies are unique because they have recently undergone regime change, they face institutional fluidity in their new democratic institutions, and they often struggle with democratic governance. This chapter offers some theoretical insights into how political institutions affect the election of women and women’s governing in executive office, emphasizing the specific nuances of gender and executives in posttransition democracies.

Reyes-Housholder, Catherine and Leslie A. Schwindt-Bayer. 2016.
"The Impact of Presidentas on Women’s Political Activity"
The Gendered Executive: A Comparative Analysis of Presidents, Prime Ministers, and Chief Executives,
eds. Janet Martin and MaryAnne Borrelli. Temple University Press, 103-122.

Abstract: While Latin America continues to exhibit significant gender inequality in citizens’ political participation, women have been elected president eight times since 1999 in Chile (twice), Costa Rica, Panamá, Brazil (twice), and Argentina (twice). Extant research predicts that highly visible women such as these presidentas will increase women’s participation in politics. Using public opinion data on 17 countries conducted biennially from 2004 to 2012, maximum likelihood estimation analysis reveals evidence that presidentas augment three measures of women's political participation: vote intention, rates of campaigning and attending local meetings. Further, we identify three possible causal pathways that could link presidentas to these increases in political activity: changing conceptions of the appropriateness of women in politics, a greater sense of government responsiveness among women and increased female psychological engagement in politics. While statistical results provide little support for the responsiveness and engagement mechanisms, evidence is provided that presidentas challenge conventional notions of the appropriateness of political activity for women. We argue that this is likely to be why women appear more politically active under presidentas.

Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie A. 2016.
"Women’s Representation and Democratic Consolidation in Latin America"
E-Legis - Revista Eletrônica do Programa de Pós-Graduação da Câmara dos Deputados 9(19): 49–71.
Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie A. 2016.
"Does the Presence of Women in Politics Reduce Corruption in Latin America"
Issue Brief, 7/29/16, for the Baker Institute for Public Policy Latin America Initiative.
Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie A. 2015.
"Chile’s Gender Quota: Will it Work?"
Research Paper for the Baker Institute for Public Policy Latin America Initiative.
Escobar-Lemmon, Maria C., Leslie A. Schwindt-Bayer, and Michelle M. Taylor-Robinson. 2014.
"Representing Women: Empirical Insights from Legislatures and Cabinets in Latin America"
Representation: The Case of Women, eds. Maria C. Escobar-Lemmon and Michelle M. Taylor-Robinson. New York: Oxford University Press.
Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie A. 2013.
"Causas y consecuencias de la representación de las mujeres en América Latina"
Espacios de género. Juliana Ströbele-Gregor and Dörte Wollrad, eds. Buenos Aires: Adlaf, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, 17-29.
Krook, Mona Lena and Leslie A. Schwindt-Bayer. 2013.
"Electoral Institutions"
Oxford Handbook of Gender and Politics. Georgina Waylen, Karen Celis, Johanna Kantola, S. Laurel Weldon, eds. New York: Oxford University Press, 554-578.
Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie A. 2012.
"Die Repräsentation von Frauen in der Politik Lateinamerikas"
German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) Focus 5.
Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie A. 2011.
"Gender Quotas and Women's Political Participation in Latin America"
Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP). - Awarded 2011 "Best Paper"!
Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie A. 2010.
"How Presidents Legislate: Agenda-Control and Policy Success in Costa Rica."
Kellogg Institute for International Studies Working Paper #369.

Abstract: Presidents around the world have access to a wide range of legislative powers - veto power, decree power, and exclusive bill introduction powers, for example - that they can use to promote and defend their policy program. An important but often overlooked power is the ability to control the legislative agenda during extraordinary sessions where the president decides which bills the legislature will consider. Does agenda-control power make it easier for presidents to get their policies passed? In this paper, I examine whether the president's ability to set the legislative agenda increases the probability that his or her bills become law using the case of Costa Rica where agenda-control is one of the few legislative powers available to the president. I control for other factors that affect bill passage including the partisan powers of the president, whether the president is a lame duck, the amount of time in the congressional session after sponsorship, the popularity of the president, and the type of bill. I examine this with data from three legislative sessions- 1994-1998, 1998-2002, and 2002-2006 - and find that agenda-control is an important power for presidents. It increases the likelihood that they will successfully implement their policy agenda.

Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie A. 2008.
"Women and Power in the Americas: A Report Card (March 2007)"
Commissioned report for the Inter-American Dialogue. Washington, D.C.
Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie A. 2008.
"Women in Power: How Presence Affects Politics"
Commissioned report for the Inter-American Dialogue. Washington, D.C.
Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie A. 2007.
"Female Legislators and the Promotion of Women, Children, and Family Policies in Latin America"
Commissioned background paper for UNICEF's 2007 State of the World's Children Report. New York.

Abstract: (Not available)

(Article also available at: The full UNICEF SOWC 2007 Report is available at


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