Petia Topalova

Powerful Women: Does Exposure Reduce Bias?

We exploit random assignment of gender quotas across Indian village councils to investigate
whether having a female chief councillor affects public opinion towards female leaders.
Villagers who have never been required to have a female leader prefer male leaders and perceive
hypothetical female leaders as less effective than their male counterparts, when stated
performance is identical. Exposure to a female leader does not alter villagers' taste preference
for male leaders. However, it weakens stereotypes about gender roles in the public Read more »

Unappreciated Service: Performance, Perceptions, and Women Leaders in India

This paper studies the impact of reservation for women on the performance of policy makers and on voters’ perceptions of this performance. Since the mid 1990’s, one third of Village Council head positions in India have been randomly reserved for a woman: In these councils only women could be elected to the position of chief. Read more »