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The Role of District Magnitude in When Women Represent Women

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 November 2022

Brian F. Crisp*
Department of Political Science, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, USA
Patrick Cunha Silva
Department of Political Science, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:


Legislators are likely to substantively represent groups to which they belong or with which they have some particular affinity. However, there are electoral systems that diminish this tendency and systems that promote it. More precisely, as district magnitude increases, representatives will be freer to focus on issues that are not decisive of vote choice for most voters. In this letter, we use a case of electoral reform and the nature of the post-reform chamber (Chile's Chamber of Deputies) to test whether increasing district magnitude makes it more likely that women will focus on women's issues. A series of tests on multiple sets of observations show robust results for the conclusion that as the number of candidates elected in a district increases, elected women become more likely to pursue women's issues.

Copyright © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press

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