Published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 August 2013
The use of electoral gender quotas—both nationally-mandated and party-based—has generated a large and growing body of research examining these policies. The rapid development of this literature stems from the widespread nature of this phenomenon, with quotas being adopted in more than half of all countries worldwide—nearly all within the last 20 years. The “first generation” of quota research focused primarily on mapping the contours of these measures, theorizing elements of quota design, paths to quota adoption, and reasons for variations in quota effects on the numbers of women elected. While such studies continue to remain important, scholars increasingly recognize that quotas are not simply about increasing the number of women in politics. This has led to the emergence of a “second generation” of quota research, examining their impact on legislative diversity, policy-making behavior, public opinion, and mass mobilization. In contrast, non-gender scholars have generally been slow to respond to these developments, despite the potential for quotas to shape a variety of political dynamics—and thus to illuminate trends in relation to many key debates in comparative politics.