Skip to main content

Open Access Substantive representation of women and policy-vote trade-offs: does supporting women’s issue bills decrease a legislator’s chance of reelection?

This article is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY licence.

The paper investigates how parliamentary efforts to represent the interests of female electorates influence the legislators’ re-election chances. Taiwan is chosen as the case study and, for empirical analysis, I utilise an original bill co-sponsorship dataset that consists of roughly 400,000 cosponsors for all bills submitted between 1992 and 2016. The findings, based on regression analyses, show that making more legislative effort on women’s issues – by prioritising them over other issues – results in electoral losses, and this negative effect is more pronounced among female legislators. The paper contributes to the gender politics literature by theorising and testing a hitherto underexplored relationship between two representational processes: how the substantive representation women by female legislators affects their descriptive representation. It also contributes to legislative and electoral studies by demonstrating that legislators’ policy-vote trade-offs are policy-sensitive and gendered, thus calling for a more nuanced approach to be taken in future research.

Keywords: Electoral connection; Taiwan; cosponsorship; gender politics; substantive representation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Government and International Studies, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, China

Publication date: October 2, 2022

  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content