Women's Representation in Parliament: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis

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In recent years, statistical and case study research has increasingly reached conflicting findings in terms of the factors explaining cross-national variations in the percentage of women elected to national parliaments. To reconcile the conclusions of large-n and small-n research, this article employs qualitative comparative analysis (QCA), a medium-n technique, to study two populations of cases, Western and sub-Saharan African countries. In contrast to work predicated on assumptions of causal homogeneity and causal competition, the study reveals that multiple combinations of conditions lead to higher and lower levels of female representation. This finding corroborates the two guiding principles of QCA, causal combination and equifinality, suggesting that these methods may offer greater leverage than traditional techniques in discerning the various factors facilitating and hindering women's access to political office.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)886-908
Number of pages23
JournalPolitical Studies
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science

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