Presented by Ananish Chaudhuri, University of Auckland


Increasing the share of women in politics is often promoted as a way to reduce corruption, because women have been found to be more honest and risk averse than men. Instead of studying whether women's presence affects governance, we ask whether time in office changes the attitudes and behaviors of male and female elected representatives. We address this question by drawing on data from an in-depth study of 356 inexperienced and experienced local politicians in West Bengal, India. Our study has two parts: the first is an extensive survey of attitudes towards corruption and trust in political institutions; the second involves incentivized behavioral economic games. Whereas we find little difference in the expressed attitudes and behavior of inexperienced male and female politicians, the effect of time in office is different. Experienced women politicians express lower faith in political institutions and more of a distaste for corruption than inexperienced female politicians, but also exhibit more dishonest behavior in the experiments. Exploring possible mechanisms for these differences, we find that they are strongly associated with lower risk aversion among more experienced women politicians, suggesting that time in office makes them less concerned with risks related to behaving dishonestly. We do not see similar differences between inexperienced and experienced male politicians. These findings contribute to ongoing discussions about the attributes of male and female politicians, and particularly how gender gaps may change with exposure and experience.

About the presenter’s visit

Professor Ananish Chaudhuri will be visiting the School of Economics on Friday 19th July 2019.  While here he will be using room 520A Colin Clark Building.  If you would like to meet with him or have lunch or dinner with him please contact A/Prof Lana Friesen who will be his host while at The University of Queensland.  A/Prof Friesen can be contacted on

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The School of Economics General Seminar Series is held on Fridays. These are in-person and presented by a range of guest researchers from around Australia and internationally.

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