Gender Quotas and Co-sponsorship Networks in Closed-List Proportional Systems

Paper under review


The introduction of gender quotas in parliaments reshape the incentives of Members of Parliament (MPs) of both sexes to cooperate and compete. After a 33 percent quota was introduced in Portugal’s closed list system, combined with a placement principle, MPs faced a new situation, where they are playing a mixed-motive game in their quest for a secure list spot. At the heart of it is the tension between inter-group and intra-group competition, as neither the distribution of seats, nor the ranking are fixed under the quota rule. This had profound implications for MPs activity. We analyze the changes in co-sponsorship networks and show that both the overall activity levels and the structure of cooperation changed as a response to the introduction of the gender quota. Increasing within-group competition leads to more mixed teams, and induces MPs to cosponsor with more partners than before. Senior women tend to work more with less senior men and vice-versa, as they are less likely to surpass them on the list.


Patrícia Calca

Working Paper

You can download the working paper here.