Good Government in Mexico: The Relevance of the Gender Perspective

A number of studies explore the link between gender and good government, and confirm the cor-relation first observed by Dollar et al (2001): the number of women in elected office is related to levels of corruption. These studies build on cross-country comparative analyses and have thus far failed to discern whether the observed correlation indicates causation or whether both derive from successful liberal democratic project. We explore these issues in an analysis at the subnational level in Mexico. Using several waves of data from a bribe-payers survey conducted by Transparencia Mexicana, we examine the dynamic interrelationship between women in government and levels of corruption over time. The results suggest that levels of corruption affect women’s ability to enter the political arena, but that once in political office, the presence of women in government contrib-utes to reducing corruption. While the latter finding is somewhat less certain, we subject the hy-pothesis to a rigorous test, as the analyses consider whether female representation is linked to change in the prevalence of bribe-paying between 2001 and 2010.