Social identity and governance: the behavioral response to female leaders

Lata Gangadharan, Tarun Jain, Pushkar Maitra, Joseph Vecci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


This paper uses data from artefactual field experiments and surveys conducted in 61 villages in India to examine whether men and women respond differently to women as leaders. We investigate the extent to which behavior towards female leaders is influenced by experience with women in leadership positions. We find evidence of significant male backlash against female leaders, which can be attributed to the transgression of social norms and in particular, a violation of male identity, when women are assigned to positions of leadership through gender based quotas. Increased exposure to female leaders reduces the extent of bias.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-325
Number of pages24
JournalEuropean Economic Review
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016


  • Affirmative action
  • Gender
  • India
  • Leaders
  • Male backlash

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