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The Impact of Women Policy Makers on Public Goods in India
Initial registration date
October 24, 2016
October 24, 2016 10:22 AM EDT
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Indian Institute of Management
Additional Trial Information
This paper uses political reservations for women in India to study the impact of women's leadership on policy decisions. Since the mid-1990's, one third of Village Council head positions in India have been randomly reserved for a woman: In these councils only women could be elected to the position of head. Village Councils are responsible for the provision of many local public goods in rural areas. Using a dataset we collected on 265 Village Councils in West Bengal and Rajasthan, we compare the type of public goods provided in reserved and unreserved Village Councils. We show that the reservation of a council seat affects the types of public goods provided. Specifically, leaders invest more in infrastructure that is directly relevant to the needs of their own genders.
Chattopadhyay, Raghabendra and Esther Duflo. 2016. "The Impact of Women Policy Makers on Public Goods in India." AEA RCT Registry. October 24.
In every council election since the mid-1990's, the Indian government has randomly required one-third of councilor positions in each council and one-third of Pradhan positions across councils in a district to be be reserved for women. Thus, the treatment group consists of villages where positions have been reserved for women.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Investment in public goods (i.e. number of public goods' issues raised, number of public goods' projects taken up), Women's political participation, Fraction of women among Pradhans
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
We conducted a detailed survey of all investments in local public goods in a sample of villages in two districts, Birbhum in West Bengal and Udaipur in Rajasthan, and compared investments made in reserved and unreserved GPs. In West Bengal, the Panchayat Constitution Rule was modified in 1993, so as to reserve one-third of the councilor positions in each GP to women; and the rule was again modified in 1998 to introduce reservation of Pradhan positions for women and SC/ST. In Rajasthan, the random rotation system was implemented in 1995 and in 2000 at both levels (council members and Pradhans).
Experimental Design Details
Prior to an election, village council positions in a district are randomly assigned across three lists to ensure some positions are reserved for disadvantaged minorities: Reserved for scheduled castes (SC), Reserved for scheduled tribes (ST), and Unreserved. Within a list village councils are ordered by serial number, and every third council starting with number one on each list, was required to be reserved for a woman.
Local village councils (Gram Panchayats, GPs)
Was the treatment clustered?
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Reserved, West Bengal: 54 GPs
Unreserved, West Bengal: 107 GPs
Reserved, Rajasthan: 40 GPs
Unreserved, Rajasthan: 60 GPs
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
Post Trial Information
Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
December 31, 2003, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Data Collection Completion Date
December 31, 2003, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
Number of observations differ dependent on the level of data collection. Number of observations from census level data: 2220 observations (2120 West Bengal, 100 Rajasthan). Number of observations on GP level outcomes: 261 observations (161 West Bengal, 100 Rajasthan). Number of observations from village level surveys: 422 observations (322 West Bengal, 100 Rajasthan).
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Women as Policy Makers: Evidence from a Randomized Policy Experiment in India
Chattopadhyay, Raghabendra, and Esther Duflo. 2004. "Women as Policy Makers: Evidence from a Randomized Policy Experiment in India." Econometrica 72(5): 1409-43.
REPORTS & OTHER MATERIALS