Women Mayors and Management of Spanish Councils: An Empirical Analysis

Carmen María Hernández-Nicolás, Juan Francisco Martín-Ugedo, and Antonio Mínguez-Vera

This paper analyzes the relationship between the gender of mayors in Spanish local government and different budget items. It uses a sample of local budgets for 8,112 town councils between 2002 and 2010, totaling 64,361 observations. The Spanish context is characterized by decentralization of public responsibility to a greater extent than in neighboring countries, feeding the debate on the operational efficiency of local government and the importance of gender in public management. Results show that councils with women mayors have lower annual interest and debt repayment obligations and have higher expenditure on security, protection, and social promotion. Thus, the presence of women in politics may serve to improve councils’ economic situations, which is necessary not only for social justice but also for economic efficiency. In addition, in councils with more inhabitants, women mayors are more common, but women are less likely to occupy the office for longer periods.

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