Political reservations of women in India led to a substantial increase in women's small-scale entrepreneurship

This paper, published in the Journal of Development Economics (May 2014), quantifies the link between the timing of state-level implementations of political reservations for women in India with the role of women in India's manufacturing sector. While overall employment of women in manufacturing does not increase after the reforms, the authors find significant evidence that more women-owned establishments were created in the unorganized/informal sector. These new establishments were concentrated in industries where women entrepreneurs have been traditionally active and the entry was mainly found among household-based establishments. They measure and discuss the extent to which this heightened entrepreneurship is due to channels like greater finance access or heightened inspiration for women entrepreneurs.
By Ejaz Ghani, William Kerr, and Stephen O'Connell (2014)