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Women clean the House...and the Senate: Gender and corruption in Rwanda

McRae, Megan
Various researchers have argued that women govern in such a way that may decrease the presence of corruption; specifically, women are more likely to value transparent and honest governing (Dollar et al. 2001), are more concerned with public welfare (Barnes and Beaulieu 2014), and less likely to engage in risky behavior like accepting bribes (Swamy et al. 2001). To test whether this assertion is true, I examine the effects of women representation on corruption in Rwanda. I chose Rwanda as a case study because it has significantly increased the presence of women in government so much that they now claim the world's highest percentage of women in parliament. In addition, they are also located in one of the most corrupt regions of the world. Using the data on women in parliament provided by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the control of corruption factor measured in the World Governance Indicators complied by the World Bank, and historical process-tracing, I find a positive correlation between the two variables. However, other factors, such as the implementation of a new constitution, may have also decreased corruption in Rwanda.