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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Engineering Quotas in Latin America

  • Author(s): Piscopo, Jennifer M.
  • et al.

Proponents of electoral quota laws suggest that equitable representation will deepen democratization and transform policy outcomes. Eleven Latin American countries have gender quotas, but their efficacy varies: women’s parliamentary representation ranges from 35% in Costa Rica to 6% in Honduras. Systematic, cross-national analysis reveals that institutional engineering intersects with gender disadvantages in politics. This interaction creates conditions under which quotas succeed or fail. Long-term effects include whether quotas meaningfully empower female legislators and whether greater gender representation transforms policy outcomes. This paper explores the interaction between institutions and gender, using a case study from Argentina to develop the research agenda.

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