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"Term limits and women’s political representation" joint with Carolina Kansikas

Abstract : The generational change enabled by term limits could help historically under-represented groups such as women in gaining access to political power. Exploiting a quasi-natural experiment in Italy, where mayoral term limits were extended from 2 to 3 consecutive terms in municipalities with less than 3000 inhabitants, we find that term limits strongly accelerate the access of women to top political positions. In municipalities not affected by the extension of term limits, the share of female mayors increased by 5 p.p., relative to a baseline of 10%. The effect is stronger in municipalities where women were more represented in lower levels of the political hierarchy, highlighting the relevance of supply considerations in assessing the effectiveness of term limits in increasing women’s representation.