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A Game-Theoretical Essay On Political Selections, Male Overrepresentation and Gender Bias

Gender
Political Parties
Quantitative
Michal Grahn (né Smrek)
Uppsala Universitet
Michal Grahn (né Smrek)
Uppsala Universitet

Abstract

This game-theoretical essay begins with an assumption that the so-called gender bias, which is often considered to be party responsible for male overrepresentation in Politics, is a rational response of party selectors to the uncertainty that surrounds the process of recruitment. Party selectors select those aspirants who are most likely to advance their party goals: vote-maximisation, office-maximisation, policy-maximisation, etc (Murray, 2010). To make the process manageable, information short-cuts are used: men are by default assumed to possess superior qualities because this is what past experience shows (Bjarnegård, 2013). This logic, however, only applies to the first-time recruitment wherein party recruiters lack essential political-performance-related proxies to base their selection on. At the renomination stage, party recruiters can better evaluate each aspirant’s potential contribution toward advancing party goals by looking at how well they fared in the previous election (vote-maximisation) and how loyal they were during the last legislative term (policy-maximisation). If these improved selection proxies are utilised at the renomination stage, we have no reason to believe that men should be arbitrarily favoured at this stage (Shair-Rosenfield, Hinojosa, 2014). Using a rich panel-dataset on Czech national legislators covering the period between 1996 and 2013, this essay shows that men indeed lose their advantage vis-à-vis women at the renomination stage. Understanding the different selection criteria party selectors use at different selection stages might help us to understand the reasons why men seem to be prioritised at some, while not at others, which might in turn provide a good standpoint for critiquing the selection criteria currently in use. Key words: renomination, seniority, party recruitment, voters’ bias.