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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Engineering Quotas in Latin America


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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