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Close the political gender gap to reduce corruption

How women's political agenda and risk aversion restricts corrupt behaviour

Including women in local councils is strongly negatively associated with the prevalence of both petty and grand forms of corruption. This reduction in corruption is primarily experienced among women. A study suggests that female representatives seek to further two separate political agendas once they attain public office: 1) the improvement of public service delivery in sectors that tend to primarily benefit women, and 2) the breakup of male-dominated collusive networks.

29 April 2018
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Main points

  • Increased representation of women in elected office can reduce both petty and grand corruption.
  • Women in elected office reduce corruption both because they are risk averse and because they have a different political agenda than men.
  • Women in elected office reduce petty corruption in their efforts to improve public service delivery and grand corruption because it is detrimental to their political careers.
  • Women in elected office reduce the rate of bribery for public services, particularly for women.
  • Donors can promote women’s representation and reduced corruption through supporting the anti-corruption agendas chosen by women.

Cite this publication

Bauhr, M.; Charron, N.; Wängnerud, L.; (2018) Close the political gender gap to reduce corruption. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Brief 2018:3)

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Monika Bauhr
Nicholas Charron
Lena Wängnerud


All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


gender, grand corruption, governance