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If They Don't have Bread, Let Them Use Quotas! Representation of Minority Interest Through the Use of Quotas in the Case of Israel

Avital Friedman
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Avital Friedman
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
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Abstract

Minority representation in the legislature is significant to democracies, allowing minorities to be heard. The use of quotas was found to be useful in increasing minority representation, however was never directly linked with promoting minority interests. This research seek to expand the knowledge about the use of quotas, asking about the effectiveness of it to promote minorities' interests in parliament. In order to answer this question a quantitative research has been conducted focusing on Israel, comparing the MPs of all three parties that adopted the quota system in the Israeli parliament during 2009-2012. The independent variable was minority quotas MPs, divided into four subgroups; women, peripheral areas, non-Jews and immigrants. They were compared to the other non-quota representatives within the three parties. The responding variable was promoting the minority group by legislature acts. The latter was subdivided as well into five elements of the MP's role; voting, vote of no confidence, bills proposals, committees' allocation and Shdulas affiliation. It was found that quotas are helpful with promoting minority interests to some extent, limited by the party. Secondly, the findings showed that not all minority groups were promoted by their quota representatives. These suggests that the effectiveness of quotas is limited due to other parliamentary limitations, as well as specific characteristics of the minority group. Lastly, the same research was repeated, only with comparing the quota representatives to non-quota minority representatives, for each minority separately. It was found that there is no difference between the two groups, except for one outlier, suggesting that quotas increase representation, but not accountability.