Representative bureaucracy and the policy environment: Gender representation in Forty-Four countries

Seung Ho An, Miyeon Song, Kenneth J. Meier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The representative bureaucracy literature focuses on how passive representation translates into substantive benefits for the represented individuals. Although scholars have found substantial empirical support for representation based on gender, most studies have examined the United States, a country with high levels of democracy and gender equality compared to much of the rest of the world. This article first investigates whether the effects of gender representation differ across countries using cross-national education data. Evidence from 44 countries shows that representative bureaucracy findings are relatively rare across the world. Second, this article contributes to contextual theories of representative bureaucracy by examining how the policy and political environments influence the link between passive representation and policy outcomes. The findings suggest that bureaucratic representation is more effective in countries where gender equality is high and political support for women is greater. These findings indicate that representative bureaucracy is enhanced by favorable policy and political environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)900-922
Number of pages23
JournalPublic Administration
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration


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