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Women's Transnational Activism, Norm Cascades, and Quota Adoption in The Developing World

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 July 2016

Liam Swiss
Memorial University
Kathleen M. Fallon
Stony Brook University


Electoral quotas are a key factor in increasing women's political representation in parliaments globally. Despite the strong effects of quotas, less attention has been paid to the factors that prompt countries to adopt electoral quotas across developing countries. This article employs event history modeling to analyze quota adoption in 134 developing countries from 1987 to 2012, focusing on quota type, transnational activism, and norm cascades. The article asks the following questions: (1) How might quota adoption differ according to quota type—nonparty versus party quotas? (2) How has the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China (Beijing 95), contributed to quota diffusion? (3) Do global, regional, or neighboring country effects contribute more to quota adoption? Results provide new evidence of how quota adoption processes differ according to quota type, the central role played by participation in Beijing 95, and how increased global counts contribute to faster nonparty quota adoption while increased neighboring country counts lead to faster to party quota adoption.

Research Article
Copyright © The Women and Politics Research Section of the American Political Science Association 2016 

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