Do Female/Male Distinctions in Language Matter? Evidence from Gender Political Quotas

Victor Gay, Estefania Santacreu-Vasut, and Amir Shoham


This article studies the determinants of gender political quota and enforcement sanctions, two key policy instruments for increasing female participation in politics. We find a novel empirical fact: language (the pervasiveness of gender distinctions in grammar) is the most significant related variable to quota adoption, more than traditional explanations such as economic development, political system and religion


Culture; Development; Gender quotas; Language;

JEL codes

  • K00: General
  • O17: Formal and Informal Sectors • Shadow Economy • Institutional Arrangements
  • Z13: Economic Sociology • Economic Anthropology • Social and Economic Stratification

Published in

Applied Economics Letters, vol. 20, n. 5, 2013, pp. 495–498