Study Finds More Women in Government Equals Less Corruption
A new study published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization reveals that countries with more women in government experience lesser incidences of corruption. The research was led by Sudipta Sarangi, professor and head of the Department of Economics of the Virginia Tech College of Science. The study was co-authored by Chandan Kumar Jha, an assistant professor of finance in Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York.
The researchers ran extensive data on over 125 countries, finding that greater numbers of women at local and national levels of government is linked to transparency in government. The data was especially profound for local elections in Europe. Conversely, government corruption is more prevalent in countries where men dominate positions of power.
Women’s Issues Are Naturally Less Corrupt
According to Sarangi, the importance of the study lies in the fact that it examines the effects of women being underrepresented in politics. To this end, it analyzes the importance of women empowerment, roles in leadership positions, and women representation in government. The study which weighs the relationship between women in government and corruption found that women are naturally less corrupt than men, granted there are individual exceptions.
Due to the nature of women, the researchers say women tend to be less corrupt in government because their economic policies target family welfare and health issues more than anything else. The authors of the study further states women policymakers leave little chances for “corruption because they choose different policies for men. An extensive body of prior research shows women politicians choose policies that are more closely related to the welfare of women, children, and family.”
Women Fight Corruption
The study also looked at women with decision-making responsibilities in labor forces, clerical positions, and the corporate world. The study found “that women’s presence in these occupations is not significantly associated with corruption, suggesting that it is the policymaking role through which women are able to have an impact on corruption,” as Sarangi explained.
The study suggested that it is perhaps the chance to fight corruption that compels women into policy-making positions. The authors, however, cautioned that the study does not mean every woman is inherently less corrupt. It is women’s interests in health and social welfare that tend to result in less corruption.
“Previous research has established that a greater presence of women in government is associated with better education and health outcomes,” Sarangi said. “It is well-known that corruption is bad for economic growth and well-being of people.”
The study comes on the heels of a new wave of women running for office which many attribute as a response to the election of Trump in 2016.
In the upcoming U.S. election in November, 78 women will be contesting for positions in Congress and state governorship positions, the Washington Post wrote recently. Women occupy less than 25 percent of the Senate and only 19 percent of House of Representative members are women according to the study.