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Gender Diversity in the Public Sector and Its Influence on Public Spending and Good Governance. Evidence in Latin America

Guadalupe del Carmen Briano Turrent

Gender diversity and its impact on the decisions and performance of the public sector have received great attention from the academia and the international legislation. Although the representation of women in leadership positions in the public sector has increased, their influence on economic and social performance indicators has been poorly studied by the international literature, while in Latin America there are no comparative studies that evidence the contribution of gender diversity to economic and institutional development. Based on agency and critical mass theories, this paper aims to analyze the influence of gender diversity on the National Parliaments and Municipalities positions on public spending decisions and good governance indicators, including corruption. The study sample is made up of 18 countries and 378 observations during the 1997-2017 period. Although the participation of women on the National Parliaments shows an important increase in Latin America, the 50-50 parity has not been reached. Econometric results show that women in National Parliaments favor good governance indicators, particularly in the dimensions of political stability and nonviolence, government effectiveness, regulatory quality, rule of law, and control of corruption, while elected women mayors favor the regulatory quality and the rule of law. Furthermore, women mayors encourage greater non-social spending on economic issues, while increasing social spending on environmental protection, recreational activities, culture and religion, and social protection. In the economic sphere, women mayors increase tax revenues and tend to decrease total public debt. This document concludes that women in leadership positions in the public sector are more oriented toward social issues and strengthening of institutions, since they tend to adopt an ethical orientation and are more concerned with the needs of the diverse interest groups.

 

Key words: Gender Analysis; Gender Equality; Public Sector; Public Expenditure; Governance; Latin America 

 
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