Hassan, Mai and Thomas O’Mealia. “Representative Bureaucracy, Role Congruence, and Kenya’s Gender Quota” Accepted, Governance. PDF.

This paper examines the sub-national determinants of descriptive representation. Managers within an agency may be hesitant to hire women uniformly across all localities if they perceive geographic variation in role congruence, or the degree to which the duties of a position match gender roles. We expect managerial perceptions to affect hiring patterns, even after the adoption of a gender quota intended to improve descriptive representation, as managers will hire women to meet the quota in the localities in which they perceive role congruence to be highest. Evidence from Kenya’s most important security agency after the adoption of a gender quota supports the theory. Broadly, this paper shows that legislation mandating bureaucratic reform can produce varied results when the level of implementation is lower than the level at which reform is legislated and monitored.

Hassan, Mai and Thomas O’Mealia. “Uneven Accountability in the Wake of Political Violence: Evidence from Kenya’s Ashes and Archives.” Journal of Peace Research. 55(2), 161–174 (2018). PDF.

The government faces a principal–agent problem with lower-level state officers. Officers are often expected to use the state coercive capacity endowed to them to politically benefit the government. But officers can shirk from the government’s demands. An officer’s actions during bouts of large-scale and highly visible electoral violence reveal the officer’s type, thereby providing the government with the information necessary to solve its principal–agent problem for the future. The government holds officers who used their authority to perpetuate incumbent-instigated violence accountable through positive rewards, while holding officers who used their authority to perpetuate opposition-instigated violence accountable through negative sanctions. We find evidence in support of the theory using micro-level archival data on 2,500 local officer appointments and fine-grained satellite data on the locations of violence in the aftermath of Kenya’s 2007 election. The Kenyan government was more likely to fire officials whose jurisdictions saw opposition instigated violence that targeted government supporters. But we find the opposite result where violence was instigated by incumbent supporters: there, officers were less likely to be fired if violence occurred in their jurisdiction. Our results indicate that leaders can manipulate accountability processes after political violence to further politicize the state.