Current Works in Progress
Women in Local Governments Worldwide Project

I recently began collecting data on the structure of local governments and women’s representation in local governments worldwide. Once the data collection phase is complete, I plan to analyze both the causes and consequences of women’s local representation in executive and legislative offices both at the national (i.e., country averages) and local (i.e., disaggregated to municipalities) levels for multiple countries over time. I have many, many research questions that I’d like to explore using these data. The project is in its very early stages, but my ultimate goal is to produce a book manuscript on women’s local representation worldwide and publish the dataset for public use. If you know of sources of data for women’s representation and the structure of local governments in any country, please contact me. Stay tuned for periodic updates! 
Research on Gender and Politics 

Representative Budgeting: Women Mayors and the Composition of Spending in Local Governments (with Andy Philips)  
As women’s representation around the world increases, it is important to study the consequences of these changes in representation for a variety of outcomes. We explore one potential consequence of women’s local representation: changes in the distribution of government expenditures. Specifically, we examine whether women mayors in Brazil allocate a larger percentage of local expenditures to policy areas that have traditionally—and continue to—concern women using panel data on over 5,400 municipalities across 12 years. We find that women mayors allocate more to traditional women’s issues and less to traditional men’s issues, relative to men mayors. Looking at specific policy areas, we see that women allocate more to education and less to transportation, compared to men mayors. (Currently under review.) 
Pushing the Borders of Gender Equality: The Nuances of Identity in Brazil's Public Sector (with Angel Luis Molina, Jr.)
Building on an article recently published in PGI (Funk, Silva, and Escobar-Lemmon forthcoming), we examine how the nuances of identity shape whether the election of women mayors will produce greater gender equality in local bureaucracies in Brazil. We find that while women mayors on average have smaller gender wage gaps in their executive bureaucracies, women mayors who are younger and better educated have the smallest gender disparities (measured in terms of bureaucrats’ wages) in their bureaucracies. These findings reaffirm the importance of intersectionality—that is the presence of multiple identities—in research on gender identity. 
Raising the Bar or Changing It? An Experiment on Gender Role Incongruence and Evaluations of Managers (with Ken Meier)
Management is often associated with masculine leadership styles and norms of behavior; thus, men are frequently perceived to be better managers than women. Using a survey experiment implemented through Amazon Mechanical Turk, we examine whether women managers are evaluated more harshly than men, even under the same performance conditions. We further examine whether the purpose (i.e., stereotypically feminine or stereotypically masculine) and type (i.e., public or nonprofit) of organization interact with the manager’s gender to affect public evaluations of men and women managers. 
Running on a Ledge: Women Mayoral Candidates and the Glass Cliff
The glass cliff theory posits that women are more likely to receive leadership roles under precarious or unfavorable circumstances. I test this theory by examining whether women are more likely to be nominated as mayoral candidates in districts where their political party is likely to lose. 
Localized Women: Decentralization and Women's Local Representation in Latin America
Decentralization reforms sought to open more spaces for representation and also increased the political, administrative, and fiscal powers of local governments. Did this have the unintended, yet deleterious, effect of impeding women's representation at the local level? I argue that since decentralization increased the power of local governments, this caused local offices in decentralized countries to become more attractive positions---especially for male politicians. This increase in the power and desirability of local offices simultaneously increased barriers to women's representation at the local level. Since women are more likely to lack access to important political networks and resources and are often viewed as less qualified and capable leaders than men, they are disadvantaged in competitions for powerful local offices. Using data from local elections in 17 Latin American countries from 2000 to 2013, I find that fiscal and administrative decentralization have negative consequences for women's representation on local legislative councils. This finding suggests that there are gendered consequences to decentralization that should be considered when evaluating whether decentralization is generally good or bad for the functioning of democratic countries. 
The Infallible Women: An Experiment on Perceptions of Gender and Deep Corruption in Local Governance (with Barry Bozeman)
Gender stereotypes suggest that women are less corrupt than men. But, if women are perceived to be less corrupt, are they punished more than men for participating in corruption? We conduct an online experiment in which hypothetical men and women city managers commit acts of venal and deep corruption to examine whether women are evaluated more harshly than men when engaging in corrupt acts.
Research on Government Performance 

Consequences of an Anti-Corruption Experiment on Local Government Performance in Brazil (with Erica Owen)  
Decentralization reforms, implemented to improve efficiency and service provision, pose a challenge for federal governments that would like to ensure that federal resources are used appropriately by local governments. To overcome this challenge, federal governments may implement costly oversight programs thought to lead to better governance. For instance, in 2003, the Brazilian federal government introduced a randomized municipal auditing program, with the goal of improving local government performance by exposing episodes of corruption and mismanagement. Yet, we know little about whether these programs actually lead to improvements in local outcomes, especially in terms of service delivery. To address this question, we examine nine performance outcomes for over 3,500 Brazilian municipalities from 2001 to 2008. We exploit the randomized assignment of audits and estimate differences-in-differences regressions. We find that municipalities audited in 2003 experience greater improvement in some policy areas relative to unaudited municipalities, but show no difference in other areas. Overall, the results suggest limited benefits to top-down government oversight in terms of improving local performance.  
Changing the Way We See Social Services? How Decentralization Changes Satisfaction with Services (with Bethany Shockley and Maria Escobar-Lemmon)  
There is much debate about how decentralization affects public services. This study engages an under-explored aspect of this debate by assessing if and how decentralization affects satisfaction with local government provided services using the case of education in Latin America. While not always perfectly correlated with outcomes, citizen satisfaction can provide useful information about the quality of services relative to expectations, which has important implications for the legitimacy of democratic institutions—a critical issue in much of Latin America and the developing world. Results suggest that there is greater variability in countries that are highly decentralized versus those that are mostly centralized. This is likely due to the fact that decentralization devolves responsibilities to local governments, some of which provide high quality services, while others provide poor quality services. In contrast, centralized countries have more uniform service quality. The study concludes that this variation can explain the contradictory findings in the literature. 
Keeping Up with the Silva’s: Spatial Dependence and Local Government Performance in Brazil  
Do improvements in government performance in one municipality have spillover effects to neighboring municipalities? Through local competition, benchmarking, and/or learning, improvements in performance in one municipality may lead to improvements in performance in municipalities that are nearby or in similar municipalities (who look to one another for inspiration or comparison). Using spatial econometrics, I test whether there is spatial dependence (measured in terms of geography and similarities in population size and level of development) in local government performance (measured through local service provision) across Brazilian municipalities over time.