UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

Thiago de Lucena Coelho, University of California, Davis

Leadership & Gender Composition in Managerial Positions: Evidence from the Brazilian Public Sector

Date and Location

Tuesday, November 2, 2021, 4:10 PM - 5:30 PM
ARE Conference Room, 2102 Social Sciences and Humanities


Despite major progress in fighting gender inequality over the past 60 years, women remain heavily underrepresented at the top of the status distribution in both the public and private sectors. Surprisingly, very little evidence exists about how female leaders may curb the underrepresentation problem at top positions. Only a few studies have evaluated this relation presenting mixed results on general effects and scarce evidence on mechanisms. Using a Regression Discontinuity Design on close elections in Brazil, I analyze how the election of a female mayor affects the gender composition gap of top municipal executives. I show that electing a female mayor on a close race increases the share of female managers by 17 %. This increase doesn’t come at a cost of observed quality of employees. I also present evidence that public sector-specific and supply-side channels are unlikely to explain of my findings, instead, an increase in gender inclusive policies within female-led governments suggests that taste base discrimination may be a driver of the results.

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