Making space for women: Explaining citizen support for legislative gender quotas in Latin America

Tiffany D. Barnes, Abby Córdova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Gender quotas have been adopted in over a hundred countries in an effort to address gender disparities in national legislatures. Yet the determinants of citizen support for gender quota policies remain largely understudied. We develop a theory that emphasizes the impact of institutional performance and political values to explain citizen support for gender quotas and how these two factors differentially influence men's and women's quota support. Based on data for 24 Latin American countries, we find that citizens in countries with relatively good governance quality who express a strong preference for government involvement to improve citizens' well-being show the highest levels of quota support. Further, whereas good governance increases quota support at a higher rate among men than women, preferences for government involvement exert a stronger influence on women's support for quotas. Consequently, good governance quality reduces the gender gap in quota support by substantially increasing men's support for quotas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)670-686
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Politics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supporters (the United States Agency for International Development, the Inter-American Development Bank, and Vanderbilt University) for making the survey data available. The two authors are equal contributors to this research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 by the Southern Political Science Association. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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