Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Contemporary South Asia

Rachel Brule — Property, Power, and Women: Positive and Perverse Consequences of Indian Reforms for Gender Equality

Friday, November 8, 2019

2:30pm – 4:30pm

Harvard University, CGIS S153, 
1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

Can political representation help women upend entrenched systems of power?  Property and Power, forthcoming with Cambridge University Press, finds evidence that quotas improve women’s ability to claim fundamental economic rights. Yet greater voice is costly. Whether women experience benefits or backlash depends on individual bargaining power at the time a woman is elected.

Rachel Brulé is an Assistant Professor of Global Development Policy at Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies, where she is a tenure-track faculty member. She is also a member of the Empirical Gender Research Network (E-GEN) and a Research Affiliate with NYU’s Global TIES for ChildrenShe specializes in comparative politics with a substantive focus on gender, South Asia, political economy, and institutions. Her research combines careful causal identification with innovative theory building to understand why equity-promoting reforms have unintended consequences that may deepen inequality.

A series of forthcoming publications captures the impact of reforms expanding rights to a crucial good – land – in the world’s largest democracy: India. Her articles have been accepted for publication in the Journal of Politics and the Journal of Development Economics, and her first book manuscript, titled Women’s Representation and Resistance: Positive and Perverse Consequences of Indian Reforms for Gender Equality, is under contract with Cambridge University Press. In her book, she finds a paradoxical outcome of quotas improving women’s political voice: while representation ensures enforcement of women’s new economic rights, it also mobilizes backlash against them. A recent news article about her research can be found here.

Joint Seminar on South Asian Politics