Proportional Politics: Discussion

Shom Mazumder (Government)


  • Overarching Question: How do electoral institutions shape womens' mobilization?

  • Outlines three mechanisms: electoral, representation, and organizational

  • Uses a natural experiment in Norway with shift from plurality to PR

    • finds that shift to PR increases womens' share of turnout
    • evidence in support of the electoral and organizational mechanisms, but not representation
  • Paper contributes to an exciting intersection of “classic” electoral politics literatures with a renewed interest in the politics of gender

Theory and Framing

  • Loss of womens' agency in the electoral story. Why weren't women mobilizing before?
  • What's unique about women in your paper? Does this PR story apply more broadly for other groups?
  • Organizational story is most interesting, but seems more like a condition than a mechanism
    • Lee Ann Banaszak makes a very similar argument in her book
  • The representation mechanism is a bit unpersuasive to me as written. Maybe better to discuss it as an alternative mechanism?
  • How does this fit into the wider literature at the intersection of institutions, electoral politics and gender?
    • Chattopadhyay and Duflo (2004, Econometrica); O'Brien and Rickne (2016, APSR); Teele (Forthcoming, JOP)


  • Use of women's share versus turnout among voting eligible women seems disconnected from the theory
  • Does this shift policy or spending (Miller 2008, QJE)?
  • Spend some time justifying sequential ignorability for g-estimation results
  • Could further test electoral story by looking at het effects by political competitiveness
  • What exactly do parties do to mobilize voters? Can we measure these?
  • Formal test of interactions for organizational story
  • Lack of results on women's representation suggests an interesting puzzle: why doesn't turnout lead to women's descriptive representation?