The (Null) Marriage Effect : Voters’ Indifference to Marital Status of Female Candidates in India.

In countries that regard marriage to be of high importance, why do we see so many unmarried or widowed female candidates? To test whether this is a result of demand-based effects, I test this puzzle through a large-scale conjoint experiment in India. I find that though research to date suggests voters prefer married female candidates, voters in the urban Indian setting are indifferent to women’s marital status. Rather, voters overwhelmingly decide on female candidates based on their party affiliation, along with dynastic status and profession. Moreover, they tend to punish women with more than one child. The findings bear into question whether parties put forth candidates that align with voters’ interests and whether theories of representation hold in the Indian setting.

Adapted from Hugo's Theme Resume