Who Actually Governs? Inequalities and Political Representation in Rural India (with Simon Chauchard and Alyssa Heinze). Conditionally Accepted at the Journal of Politics.

Pre-Analysis Plan registered with EGAP.

Research on representative democracy often assumes that elected officials from disadvantaged and dominant groups have equal input into decision-making once in office. Drawing on an original survey in 320 Indian village councils, we leverage both reputational and behavioral measures to show that this assumption does not hold. Women elected through gender quotas do not equally participate in decision-making processes within village councils. We additionally show that these inequalities owe to both discrimination and selection mechanisms. Recognition of this underappreciated form of political inequality is imperative for scholars to accurately identify the strengths and limitations of descriptive representation. From a policy standpoint, this suggests that reforms aiming to increase the representation of members of traditionally excluded groups (quotas) may not be sufficient to enable individuals from long-excluded groups to play an equal role in decision-making.

Do Multi-dimensional Quotas Improve Social Equality? Intersectional Representation & Group Relations” (with Aliz Toth). Under Review; SSRN Working Paper; GDP Center Human Capital Initiative Working Paper.

Abstract: Can quotas mandating descriptive representation dismantle social hierarchy? Quotas are typically utilized to resolve one form of political exclusion: gender. Yet systemic oppression is multi-dimensional. Mandating political inclusion on one identity (gender) may be insufficient. We posit that quotas mandating representation on two dimensions (ethnicity and gender) disrupt multi-dimensional discrimination, improving inter-group relations beyond one-dimensional women’s quotas. We analyze the causal effect of the world’s largest quota system, with quasi-random quotas for women, disadvantaged ethnicities, and women from these ethnic groups in India. Utilizing multiple datasets covering India since quota imposition, we find one dimensional gender quotas temporarily lessen barriers to inter-group interactions in public, whereas one-dimensional ethnic quotas worsen interactions. In contrast, two-dimensional quotas consistently diminish public and private exclusion, durably improving inter-group relations. Suggestive evidence indicates this relationship travels globally. Our results demonstrate the necessity, and limitations, of using descriptive representation to improve social relations.

“Droughts & Women’s Autonomy in Bangladesh” (with Akshay Dixit).

Pre-Analysis Plan registered with EGAP. Available upon request.

“Proxy Politics: Representation and Political Inequality in Rural India” (with Simon Chauchard and Alyssa Heinze). Book Manuscript.

Pre-Analysis Plan registered with EGAP. Available upon request.