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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Public Administration