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Opinião Pública

Print version ISSN 0104-6276On-line version ISSN 1807-0191

Opin. Publica vol.25 no.1 Campinas Jan./Apr. 2019  Epub May 16, 2019 


Extreme non-viable candidates and quota maneuvering in Brazilian legislative elections

Candidaturas laranja, cotas e manobras institucionais nas eleições legislativas brasileira

Candidaturas de fachada, cuotas, y maniobras institucionales en las elecciones legislativas brasileñas

Candidatures extrêmement non viables, quotas, et manœuvres institutionnelles lors des élections législatives brésiliennes

1 James Madison University, Harrisonburg ( VA ), United States. E-mail: < >.

2 College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University, St. Joseph ( MN ), United States. E-mail: < >.

3 Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada, Brasília ( DF ), Brasil. E-mail: < >.


This article explores the causes and consequences of extreme non-viable candidacies, also known as “ laranja ” (orange) candidacies in the Brazilian political lore. We first define and delineate what makes a candidate a laranja, engaging the comparative literature on sacrificial lambs and using district-level electoral results to operationalize the concept. We then advance a typology of laranjas with four ideal types that vary along dimensions of legality and intentionality. Next, we apply descriptive statistics and a hierarchical logistic regression model to explore the individual, party, and district-level characteristics of extreme non-viable candidates and assess whether and how laranjas are distinct from non- laranjas. Finally, we illustrate the gendered character of laranjas, documenting how the candidate gender quota law in Brazil has been associated with a proliferation of candidatas laranjas (women extreme non-viable candidates).

Key words: Brazil; legislative elections; non-viable candidates; gender quota; political parties


Este artigo explora as causas e consequências de candidaturas extremamente não viáveis, também chamadas de “candidaturas laranjas”, no folclore político do Brasil. Nós procuramos definir, primeiramente, o que torna uma candidatura a ser identificada como laranja, empregando a literatura comparada sobre sacrificial lambs, mas também envolvendo os resultados eleitorais de cada distrito para operacionalizar o conceito no contexto brasileiro. Em seguida, nós propomos uma tipologia da candidatura laranja com quatro tipos específicos que variam entre dimensões da legalidade e da intencionalidade. A seguir, apresentamos estatísticas descritivas e um modelo logístico hierárquico que explora as características individuais, partidárias, e do distrito entre candidaturas não viáveis ​a fim de avaliar se, e como, candidaturas ditas laranjas são distintas das não laranjas. Finalmente, ilustramos o caráter de gênero das candidaturas laranjas, documentando como a lei sobre cotas de gênero no Brasil está associada ao aumento do número de candidatas laranjas.

Palavras-Chave: Brasil; eleições legislativas; candidatos não viáveis; cotas de gênero; partidos políticos


Este artículo explora las causas y las consecuencias de las candidaturas no viables, también conocido como “candidaturas de fachada,” que se han vuelto parte del folclor político en Brasil. Definimos y delimitamos en primer lugar lo que hace de una candidatura de fachada, relacionando en la literatura comparada con sacrificial lambs, para luego pasar a los resultados electorales a nivel de distrito y los datos financieros de las campañas para operacionalizar el concepto. A continuación, proponemos una tipología de la candidatura de fachada con cuatro tipos específicos que varían entre dimensiones de la legalidad e la intencionalidad. Se presentan las estadísticas descriptivas además de un modelo logístico jerárquico para explorar el individuo, partido, y las características a nivel de distrito de los candidatos no viables y evaluar si y cómo las candidaturas de fachada son distintos de aquellos que no lo son. Por último, se expone el carácter de género de las candidaturas de fachada, documentando cómo la ley de cuotas de género en Brasil se ha asociado a una proliferación de candidatas de fachada (candidatas extremamente no viables).

Palabras-clave: Brasil; elecciones legislativas; candidatos no viables; cuota de género; partidos políticos


Cet article explore les causes et les conséquences de cette tendance des candidatures extrêmement non viables, aussi connues sous le nom de “candidatures laranjas ” dans la tradition politique brésilienne. Nous définissons tout d'abord ce qui fait d’un candidat un “laranja”, en utilisant la littérature comparative sur les “ sacrificial lambs ”, pour ensuite utiliser les résultats des élections au niveau du district pour opérationnaliser le concept. Ensuite, nous avançons une typologie de “Laranja” avec quatre types idéals qui varient par leurs dimensions de la légalité et de l’intentionnalité. Nous appliquons ensuite des statistiques descriptives et un modèle logistique hiérarchique pour explorer les caractéristiques individuelles, de parti et de district des candidatures extrêmement non viables et pour évaluer si et comment les “laranjas” sont distincts des “non-laranjas”. Enfin, nous illustrons le caractère sexospécifique des “laranjas” et nous informons la façon dont la loi sur les quotas de genre dans la politique au Brésil a été associée à une prolifération de ce type de candidatures.

Key words: Brésil; élections législatives; candidats non viables; quotas de genre; partis politiques


Every four years, a staggering number of candidates—5,876 in 2014—run for a seat in Brazil’s lower house (Chamber of Deputies), launching a highly competitive and expensive contest to occupy one of the 513 seats representing 27 statewide multimember districts. In contrast to most proportional representation (PR) elections, Brazil’s open-list variant of PR results in candidate-centered, personalistic campaigns in which co-partisans compete against one another (Ames, 1995; Nicolau, 2006; Samuels, 2001; Speck and Mancuso, 2014). From 1994 to 2014, the number of candidacies for the Chamber of Deputies nearly doubled.

Amidst this competitive electoral landscape is a concurrent increase in the share of extreme non-viable candidacies—candidates receiving zero or exceedingly few votes. In past local, state, and federal elections, the majority of those candidates receiving zero votes—dubbed laranja candidates in the media and in the popular vernacular—were women (Delgado, 2017; Holanda, Monnerat, and Vassallo, 2018; Queiroga, 2018). Electoral officials have treated instances of women candidates receiving zero votes as suggestive evidence of party attempts to nominally comply with the gender quota law and thus avoid punishment by the electoral courts while preserving the status quo (Oms, 2018; Tribunal Regional Eleitoral-São Paulo, 2017).

This article contributes to the literature on electoral politics in and beyond Brazil in two ways. First, we conceptualize and operationalize extreme non-viable candidacies, bridging the academic literature on sacrificial lambs with popular accounts of “ laranja candidacies”. Descriptively assessing patterns across Brazil, we use district-level electoral results to measure the frequency of and rise in laranja candidacies in recent elections. The descriptive data offer rich insights into the prevalence and patterns of laranjas. Yet, in recognizing that there are important differences underlying the motivations for laranja candidacies, we then further our conceptualization with a typology of laranjas. We discuss four ideal types of laranjas, differentiating along the dimensions of legality and intentionality.

Second, we engage the comparative literature on gender quotas and gendered institutional change to contend that parties have used laranja candidacies to circumvent the country’s gender quota. We apply candidate, party, and district-level data to construct a hierarchical logit regression model evaluating the multilevel conditions under which candidates are likely to run as laranjas. We find empirical support for the hypothesis that women are more likely to be laranja candidates, particularly in the wake of quota reforms emboldening enforcement. We conclude by discussing prospects for future research.

Brazilian electoral context: candidates and the gender quota law

In the wake of redemocratization, the Brazilian political system has experienced significant expansion. From 1986 to 2014, the number of voters more than doubled, and the effective number of parties at the electoral level (ENEP) grew from 3.54 to 14.60. The country’s party system has become substantially more fragmented, with a record 30 parties winning a seat in the 2018 elections for the Chamber of Deputies. Meanwhile, the average number of candidates per seat across the country increased from 7 to 11 candidates, a 57% net increase since 1986. Brazil’s fragmented party system and hypercompetitive electoral arena, fueled by its high-magnitude open-list proportional representation (OLPR) electoral system, yields intraparty competition (Ames, 2002; Carey and Shugart, 1995; Nicolau, 2006; Samuels, 2008) and extremely expensive candidate-centered campaigns (Lemos, Marcelino and Pederiva, 2010; Samuels, 2001).

A provision of Brazil’s Electoral Law that allows parties to advance excess candidacies, or candidacies in a district that exceed the number of seats contested in proportional elections (4.737/1965, 6.990/1982, 7.454/1985, 9.100/1995, and 9.504/1997) (Lamounier and Amorim Neto, 2005; Wylie and Santos, 2016), contributes to the crowded electoral landscape. The current iteration of the Electoral Law (13.165/2015) allows each party or coalition to advance total candidacies equal to 150% of available seats in proportional elections. For elections to the Chamber of Deputies and state Legislative Assemblies, that allowance is increased for smaller states (less than 12 seats in the Chamber of Deputies), where each party or coalition is permitted total candidacies equal to 200% of the available seats (13.165/2015).

Before a 2009 mini-reform (12.034/2009), the gender quota target—initially at least 20% candidates “of each sex” and extended to 30% in 1997—applied to candidacies permitted rather than advanced. With the generous allowance of candidacies, parties need not use all of their permitted candidacies to be competitive, instead “reserving” slots for women without actually advancing women candidates (Araújo, 1999, 2003, 2010; Wylie, 2018; Wylie and Santos, 2016; Miguel, 2008). Indeed, as late as 2010, 44.2% of the 607 state parties contesting the Chamber of Deputies elections did not advance a single woman candidate, with just over one-quarter of state parties meeting the quota target. A striking 82.3% of the state parties winning one or more seats in 2010 elected delegations consisting exclusively of men. Although the all-men candidate lists dropped to 30.7% of the 768 state parties competing in the 2014 Chamber of Deputies elections, and their gender quota compliance increased to 48.4 percent, the extreme male overrepresentation persists, with 83.1% of state parties winning a seat in the 2014 Chamber of Deputies elections comprised of all-men delegations. The number of women candidates has increased, but there have been only slight gains in women elected to legislative positions. The 2014 elections sat just 51 women in the Chamber of Deputies (9.9%), earning Brazil 154 th place in a ranking of 193 countries by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (2018).

Brazil’s gender quota law is thus widely considered a failure (Araújo, 2010, 2017; Miguel, 2008; Sacchet, 2012; Wylie and Santos, 2016; Wylie, 2018). Research has shown that women can succeed in the electoral arena in Brazil provided they have the political capital to do so (Araújo, 2010; Araújo and Borges, 2013; Bolognesi, Perissinotto, and Codato, 2016; Codato, Costa and Massimo, 2014; Miguel, 2003; Miguel, Marques, and Machado, 2015; Pinheiro, 2007, Sacchet and Speck, 2012). Nevertheless, most parties lack the will and capacity to recruit and support viable women candidates (Wylie, 2018). Instead, parties persist in creating men-only lists, with women continuing to be underrepresented as candidates and elected deputies, and overrepresented as laranja candidates, as documented below.

Party efforts to shirk gender quota laws are well documented in the comparative gender quotas literature (Gatto, 2016; Krook, 2015, 2016; Mackay, 2014; Waylen, 2017). We contend that the rise in laranja candidates is a consequence of Brazil’s gendered political institutions and a systemic practice by party leaders used to nominally comply with the gender quota requirement while maintaining the status quo. The electoral context in Brazil, including the implementation of and reforms to the gender quota law, have incentivized the use of extreme non-viable candidates. As we document below, the majority of laranjas are women, which we argue constitutes an observable implication of party resistance to the gender quota.

Sacrificial lambs and laranjas: Brazil in context

Within Brazil’s formidably competitive electoral environment exists the intriguing phenomenon of laranja candidacies, an umbrella term encompassing several variants of extreme non-viable candidates, including sacrificial lambs. The term sacrificial lamb has been used widely in the literature to describe candidates in precarious or nearly impossible scenarios. Thomas and Bodet (2013, p. 154) define sacrificial lambs as candidates who run as “mere standard bearers in riding where the party does not expect to win”. The term is especially used when discussing majoritarian elections, where parties may nominate a candidate to contest a race it does not expect to win due to a strong incumbent and/or limited party support (Canon, 1993; Kaplan, Park and Ridout, 2006; Roscoe et al., 2006; Thomas and Bodet, 2013; Wilcox, 1987). The term has also been widely used in the gender and politics literature to better understand (the absence of) party support for women politicians, with mixed results (Davidson-Schmich, 2010; Dolan, 2006; Hennings and Urbatsch, 2014; Ondercin and Welch, 2009; Studlar and Matland, 1996; Thomas and Bodet, 2013; Welch et al., 1985).

Understanding the what and why of sacrificial lambs is important for the study of candidate strategy, party politics, and electoral behavior. One major problem in conceptualizing and measuring a sacrificial lamb relates to the necessity of combining both a priori and post-hoc tests to operationalize the concept. Nevertheless, we argue that by conceptualizing and measuring sacrificial lambs (and laranja candidacies), even if this conceptual exercise includes post-election empirics, we can help scholars better understand other phenomena related to the practice, including the role of parties in “creating” sacrificial lambs.

When thinking about sacrificial lambs in the Brazilian context, it is important to acknowledge the cultural and institutional peculiarities of the country. Such differences influence both the definition of a sacrificial lamb and the institutional context in which politicians operate. The term sacrificial lamb is not used by Brazilians to describe candidates who have a near impossible chance of winning. Instead, the term laranja (literally meaning “orange”) is widely used in the popular vernacular to describe extreme non-viable candidates, including those who may not even mount a campaign (Perissé, 2010). Recent media coverage of laranjas has focused on candidates receiving zero votes (Bertho, 2018; Delgado, 2017; Holanda, Monnerat and Vassallo, 2018; Queiroga, 2018). Much like the sacrificial lamb concept, the laranja candidacies concept remains undertheorized and conceptually muddied. This article examines the term laranja and the extent and purpose of laranjas within Brazil’s electoral context. We aim to contribute to a broader discussion of sacrificial lamb candidates in comparative perspective, priming future research to explain and explore in greater detail the similarities and differences between and among extreme non-viable candidates both within and across cases.

Portuguese dictionaries define laranja, beyond its more common definition of orange, as a person who is naïve and meek, and as a person used as an intermediary in fraudulent and other suspicious businesses. While we were unable to locate additional etymological information regarding the use of the word from scholarly sources, popular media reinforce these definitions of the term. The use of laranja to identify a straw-man, or person used as an intermediary in fraudulent business is the most common use of the term (Bielschowsky, 2009; Moreno, 2009; Perissé, 2010). Today, the term is used in a variety of contexts, the three most common being laranja as an individual involved in fraudulent activities, empresa laranja (front business) or dummy companies that exist only in name and are fronts for money laundering and corruption schemes (D’Ambrosio, 2005; Rolli and Fernandes, 2007), and laranja candidacies.

Following the term’s common usage within Brazil, we conceptualize laranja candidacies as extreme non-viable candidates. The popular term most likely originated in connection with the use of the word laranja to reference fronts for fraudulent activities in Brazil and to describe at least three types of candidates: candidates who register but do not run a campaign—also called phantom candidates in the media (Caram, 2018; Douglas and Iglesias, 2018; Fábio, 2016)— those who actively run with no chances of winning (sacrificial lambs), and the “front-person”, placeholder, or attack dog for another influential politician. One of the more recent infamous cases of a laranja as a stand-in or front-person for an influential politician happened in 2010, when Weslian Roriz, wife of former Federal District governor Joaquim Roriz, ran for that same office. Barred from running for re-election one week before the campaign started because of the Lei Ficha Limpa (Clean Record Law, a law that made candidates who had been impeached, who resigned to avoid impeachment, or who were convicted of corruption ineligible of running for office), Federal District Governor Joaquim Roriz and his party nominated his wife in his place (Doin et al., 2012; Maltchik, Brígido and Weber, 2010).

While the term laranja candidate can be used both when identifying candidates for majoritarian elections and candidates in legislative elections, the varying electoral rules and incentives lead to distinct types of laranjas across executive and legislative elections. This article focuses on the conceptual development of laranja candidacies in the context of legislative elections, exploring the connection between electoral rules and the gendered character of laranjas within Brazil’s institutional context.

Given Brazil’s OLPR electoral rules, by which candidates’ preference votes pool to the party/coalition list, and generous candidacy allotments as discussed above, the presence of laranjas —who typically receive no party support and pose no threat to viable candidates—does not meaningfully undermine list competitiveness. Laranjas, then, constitute a somewhat counterintuitive component of party strategy. Another relevant incentive emerges from the recently reformed candidate gender quota (9.504/1997, 12.034/2009); as documented by Araújo (2017) and Wylie and Santos (2016), predominantly male party elites resistant to the quota have used excess candidacy provisions to circumnavigate the law. Although extreme non-viable candidacies are not a new phenomenon, we contend that women laranjas constitute a salient (if suboptimal) component of parties’ electoral strategy. As we explain and then demonstrate below with empirical evidence, women laranjas have proliferated since the 2009 mini-reform (12.034/2009) altered the law and prompted electoral officials to begin enforcing the gender quota.

Laranjas and quota maneuvering

The literatures on gender quotas and gendered institutional change speak to the prevalence of quota maneuvering and backlash by resistant parties (Gatto, 2016; Krook, 2009, 2015; Mackay, 2014; Waylen, 2014, 2017). In general, reforms that stand to redistribute power will provoke resistance, and once established, will face subversion attempts (Gatto, 2016; Helmke and Levitsky 2004, 2006; Mackay, 2014; Mahoney and Thelen, 2009; Waylen, 2014, 2017). Gender equity reforms such as gender quotas are especially “vulnerable to regress”: new institutions are nested within existing (gendered) institutions, and mechanisms for attenuating the potential displacement of men abound (Mackay, 2014). We argue that laranjas constitute one such mechanism.

Since the establishment of the gender quota in 1995, but especially since the 2009 mini-reform, parties have been required to field at least 30 percent women candidates in legislative elections (Araújo, 2010; Rangel, 2009). Parties that lack a continuous project to promote women’s participation often scramble at the final hour to find sufficient women candidates; laranjas can help solve the party’s immediate needs for women candidates without diverting party resources (Wylie and Santos, 2016). In this last-ditch effort, some party officials have apparently registered unwitting candidates without their consent. In Minas Gerais, party officials allegedly used women’s Facebook profile photos to register their candidacies; the regional electoral official (Procuradoria Regional Eleitoral) has reportedly investigated the case as identity fraud, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine (Affonso, 2014; Barba, 2014). More commonly, laranjas constitute violations of the spirit rather than the letter of the electoral law. A candidate for municipal council in 2016 that won zero votes confessed her laranja status, “I only gave my name to fill the quota” (quoted in Bertho, 2018).

It is important to acknowledge that while some non-viable candidates run unwittingly as laranjas, others do so intentionally. The practice also entails varying degrees of legality; although all cases certainly violate the spirit of the electoral law, some of the more egregious instances of laranja candidacies involve electoral fraud. Those varying levels of candidate complicity in being a laranja candidate and approaches to deploying laranjas motivate our typology of laranjas (see Table 1). Next, we elucidate four ideal types of extreme non-viable candidates that vary along the dimensions of legality and intentionality: laranjas on leave, non-consensual laranjas, naïve laranjas, and strategic laranjas. First, we discuss two subtypes of laranjas that exist outside the letter of the law.

Table 1 A typology of laranjas 

Non-intentional Intentional
Illegal Non-consensual laranjas Laranjas on leave
Legal Naïve laranjas Strategic laranjas

Source: Elaborated by the authors.

Laranjas on leave are a very specific kind of candidate, a subtype only possible due to the peculiarities of Brazil’s labor and electoral systems. Under Brazilian law (Law no. 9527), public servants who are electoral candidates are allowed to take a paid leave of absence during the official campaign period. Given the schedule of Brazilian elections, public servants are therefore able to take two months of paid leave to run for office. The generous law allows for the creation of laranjas on leave: public servants who do not campaign, meaning they use their candidacy to take a two-month state-funded vacation, or as is sometimes the case, to work on someone else’s campaign. Investigatory institutions such as the Ministério Público (MP) are working to find and prosecute this specific type of laranja. Two cases exemplify MP efforts to curb the candidacies of laranjas on leave. In 2014 the MP in the state of Minas Gerais investigated 1463 public servants with questionable candidacies (low number of votes and small amounts of campaign contributions) for the 2012 municipal council elections across the state.

A total of 11 public servants have been charged with electoral fraud for these fictitious candidacies (Almeida, 2016). In 2017, the MP in the state of Santa Catarina started to investigate the candidacy of 115 public servants who received ten or less votes in the 2016 municipal elections throughout the state. In an interview with the Diário Catarinense, state prosecutor Samuel Dal-Farra Naspolini expressed the difficulties in legally determining the illegality of these candidacies, arguing that regulatory bodies do not have a standard measure to determine if a candidacy can be considered laranja. A low number of votes and limited campaign contributions may trigger an investigation by the state’s MP, but without a clear delineation of how many votes and how much money constitutes a laranja candidacy, it is hard to prove intentionality (Maciel, 2017).

In contrast to laranjas on leave, the second type of illegal laranja lacks candidate intentionality. Non-consensual laranjas are typically unwitting candidates that have their candidacies registered by party officials without their consent. As discussed above, some women’s names have allegedly been used without their consent by parties in need of women candidates to bring their candidacy list into compliance with the quota. A Regional Electoral Prosecutor in Minas Gerais explained, “The fraud is evident; some women don’t even know about their candidacy. We have seen absurd cases of women registered with photos taken from Facebook”. Parties commit such fraud “out of desperation” due to their insufficient number of women candidates (Affonso, 2014). Non-consensual laranjas can help meet the party’s immediate needs for women candidates with minimal cost to the party (Wylie and Santos, 2016). Unaware of their candidacy, non-consensual laranjas do not mount a campaign.

Accounts of non-consensual laranjas have proliferated especially since 2010 (Scalzer, 2016), and MPs across the country have paid special attention to the candidacy of women receiving little to no votes. Both types of illegal laranjas described above are clear targets for investigation after an election. The 2016 Manual of the Regional Electoral Prosecutor states that after each election, prosecutors must “pay attention to the campaign contributions reports for the inspection of ‘ laranja’ candidacies of public servants and women” (Ministério Público Federal, 2016). A reporter for The Intercept and Revista AzMina contacted a woman candidate to ask about her candidacy and discovered not only that the woman was unaware of her candidacy, but also that she had explicitly rejected her party’s invitation to run (Bertho, 2018).

Moving beyond laranjas whose candidacies are illegal, we discuss two types of legal (but perhaps ethically questionable) extreme non-viable candidacies . We call the non-intentional but legal candidate a naïve laranja. Naïve laranjas are typically women party members who are asked by party officials to put their name on the list and actually run a campaign in earnest, only to receive little to no party support (sacrificial lambs). Parties often use naïve laranjas to gesture toward the quota target without constituting an electoral threat to the established (usually men) candidates on the list. That strategic advancement of laranjas corresponds with the deployment of sacrificial lambs common in other political systems, including majoritarian systems (Thomas and Bodet, 2013).

The last type of laranja in our typology is called the strategic laranja. These are candidates whose extreme non-viable candidacies represent a deliberate strategy on the part of the candidates. Popular accounts of laranjas suggest that they are at times complicit in the extreme non-viability of their campaign, driven by a desire to do what the party asks of them (Bertho, 2018). Among parties that have neglected to promote women’s participation, last-minute appeals to rank-and-file women members to put their names on the ballot to “help the party” meet the quota target are common. In an interview with a newspaper, O Povo, a municipal party president openly stated, “female candidates willingly lend us their names so the party can complete its ticket” (quoted in Barba, 2014). As explained by the Regional Electoral Prosecutor in Santa Catarina, “She knows, and herself signs the documents, but the end goal is not to actually run a campaign or win votes. The end goal is to comply formally with the gender quota for proportional tickets” (Scalzer, 2016).

Strategic laranjas typically register their candidacy but run a bare bones campaign without actively campaigning. By showing loyalty and/or increasing their own electoral viability in subsequent contests, strategic laranjas earn the promise of party support for their own genuine candidacy in subsequent elections, representing a strategic decision on the part of both the party and the candidate. They can help the party by assisting its (often last-minute efforts) to meet the gender quota target while receiving a small number of votes that pool to the party/coalition list and/or actively campaigning for the party’s priority candidate(s). While strategic laranjas often do not even campaign on their own behalf, in contrast to non-consensual laranjas, they do consent to their candidacy.

We contend that the proliferation of laranjas, across subtypes, is in part a by-product of party resistance to the gender quota. Next, we offer empirical evidence of the prevalence of and temporal and inter-party variation in laranjas in elections for the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies.

Operationalizing laranjas

The data we use were collected from the Brazilian national electoral authority, the Supreme Electoral Court (TSE), and are available online through the institution’s repository. The dataset contains detailed individual-level information about the candidates’ profile including their name, sex, racial identity (as of 2014), age, occupation, education level, party label, number of votes, and the electoral outcome (elected, not elected, or elected by the list electoral quotient). We also compiled reports on candidate spending on their campaigns and their share of campaign revenue from different sources (personal, individuals, parties, and corporations). We supplement those data with original and secondary data on party and district-level characteristics.

As Table 2 shows, the pool of Brazilian candidates is stable. Women run for office at far lower rates than men do, although the gender quota provision has led to increases in the number of women candidates over the period analyzed. We also see that highly educated individuals dominate the candidate stock despite the growing participation of aspirants with just a high school education. As average age suggests, the system favors candidates with established professional careers and past political experience (Codato, Costa and Massimo, 2014). Occupation data are relatively stable, with most candidates declaring their backgrounds as salaried professionals 5, elected officials, or business persons, or as workers in the public sector. The majority of the Brazilian population is Afro-descendant, but white candidates nonetheless were nearly 60% of those seeking a seat for federal deputy in the 2014 elections 6.

Table 2 Background of Chamber of Deputies candidates (1994–2014) 

1994 1998 2002 2006 2010 2014
n = 3008 n = 3357 n = 4198 n = 4946 n = 4854 n = 5823
Women 6.2 10.4 11.4 12.7 19.1 29.6
Men 93.8 89.6 87.3 87.2 80.9 70.4
Age 47 48 48 47
Afro-descendant 39.7
White 59.4
Higher 64.4 59.8 52.1 52.8 49.8 48.7
Incomplete higher 10.9 11.5 11.5 11.4 11.4 11.1
Secondary 13.2 16.3 18.6 22.0 24.2 27.4
Primary or less 11.5 12.3 17.8 13.8 14.6 12.8
Elected officials 1.3 7.4 7.6 10.6 9.9 9.1
State officials 10.8 11.4 12.6 13.3 11.9 11.6
Businesspersons 1.1 10.9 8.1 8.1 9.6 9.6
Professionals 59.9 52.8 59.5 51.3 48.8 48.4
Pensioners 0.0 3.0 3.2 2.9 3.4 2.8
Students 0.6 1.5 1.5 1.4 1.7 2.1
Others 25.8 12.2 6.4 11.6 14.1 16.0

Source: Elaborated by the authors and based on TSE data (2016).

To operationalize laranja (extreme non-viable) candidacies, we move beyond popular accounts of laranjas as candidates who receive zero votes, instead offering a measure that also captures candidates receiving exceedingly few votes while acknowledging the salience of each district’s particular institutional context. Our operationalization of laranjas applies district-level electoral results to define a threshold under which candidacies qualify as extremely non-viable. Following Santos and Schmitt (1997), we calculate the minimum quotient as the total votes cast for the elected candidate in each district that earned the fewest votes, or in other words, the vote count of the worst performing winner. As illustrated in Table A1 in the Appendix, the minimum quotient varies significantly across Brazil’s 27 statewide multimember districts. Sources of subnational (and temporal) variation include not only the disparate electorate size, district magnitude (number of seats per district), and party fragmentation, but also the powerful coattails of vote champions in Brazil’s OLPR elections 7. The minimum quotient thus allows us to define a context-specific threshold for surpassing extreme non-viability, with candidates receiving votes less than 1% of the minimum quotient delineated as extreme non-viable candidates and, therefore, likely laranjas.

Based on that threshold, we show in Table 3 the gendered prevalence of estimated laranjas over time. Table 3 displays the percentage of all candidates that qualify as laranjas, the percentage of all women candidates that qualify as laranjas, and the percentage of men candidates that qualify as laranjas, in the 1994–2014 Chamber of Deputies elections. Over one-third (34.7%) of the 4,292 women candidates were likely laranjas, including nearly half (48.6%) of the women candidates in 2014. In stark contrast, just 12% of men candidates from 1994–2014 classify as laranjas, with the gendered discrepancy sharply increasing in each of the election cycles that entailed quota implementation (1998) or reforms (2010, 2014). Together, those distinctions (over sex and time) offer suggestive evidence that quota maneuvering constitutes an important element of parties’ strategic use of laranjas.

Table 3 Laranjas on the rise (1994–2014) 

Estimated percentages of laranjas among candidates
Year All candidates Women candidates Men candidates
1994 7.7 13.5 7.3
1998 11.7 18.1 11.0
2002 12.0 18.3 11.1
2006 12.1 17.9 11.3
2010 19.9 39.1 15.4
2014 24.3 48.6 14.1
1994–2014 15.7 34.7 12.0

Source: Elaborated by the authors and based on TSE data (2016).

We also conducted two tests using analysis of variance (Anova) to assess inter-group differences 8. We evaluate whether men and women candidates differ in their average vote share and in their rates of laranjas. Overall, we find that: 1) a male candidate increases the likelihood of obtaining a higher vote share in the district (M =.007) compared with a woman candidate (M =.004, p <.000, one-tailed test), and 2) a woman candidate increases the likelihood of being identified as a laranja candidate (M =.347) compared with a male candidate (M =.120, p <.000, one-tailed test). When we break down those analyses of vote share and laranja status by year, the results are not significant for the years 1994, 2002, and 2006, suggesting gendered patterns in vote shares precisely during the years of quota implementation (1998) and reform (2010, 2014). For further discussion of those differences by year, see the Appendix.

Table 4a ANOVA results of candidate vote share (1994–2014) 

Year Men Women Prob > F
1994 0.009 0.011 p <.088
1998 0.008 0.006 p <.021
2002 0.006 0.006 p <.991
2006 0.006 0.004 p <.055
2010 0.006 0.004 p <.000
2014 0.006 0.002 p <.000

Source: Elaborated by the authors and based on TSE data (2016).

Table 4b ANOVA results of laranja status (1994–2014) 

Year Men Women Prob > F
1994 0.073 0.135 p <.002
1998 0.008 0.006 p <.021
2002 0.006 0.006 p <.991
2006 0.006 0.004 p <.055
2010 0.006 0.004 p <.000
2014 0.006 0.002 p <.000

Source: Elaborated by the authors and based on TSE data (2016).

Do laranjas differ from non- laranja candidates? Tables 57 depict the characteristics of laranja candidacies and variations in their extent by party. We maintain that laranjas are significantly different from non- laranjas, not only in terms of electoral performance, but also along each of the other dimensions. Given limitations to campaign finance data in the 1994 elections, as well as the fact that the quota first applied to the 1998 elections, the analyses below work with the 1998–2014 Chamber of Deputies elections. One of the more striking differences concerns the distribution of candidates by gender; while just 12.7% of non- laranja candidacies and a mere 7.9% of elected deputies are women, women constitute 36.2% of the laranja candidacies.

Table 5 Individual, party, and district-level characteristics of laranjas (1994-2014) 

Laranjas Non- laranjas
Women Men Overall Overall Elected
Campaign contributions $2,598 $2,887 $2,760 $106,381*** $381,325
Percentage women 36.2 12.7*** 7.9
Percentage college educated 43.9 47.6* 46.3 69.4*** 86.7
Percentage married 37.6 54.6*** 48.4 65.8*** 76.0
District magnitude 32 29.7*** 30.5 37.0*** 32.4
Party magnitude 0.998 0.626*** 0.761 2.572*** 4.826
Percentage left 32.2 30.1 30.9 37.9*** 32.2
N 1489 2621 4110 22,076 3078

Source: Elaborated by the authors and based on TSE data (2016).

Notes: Two-tailed tests of the differences (between women and men laranjas, and between laranjas and non- laranjas ) are statistically significant at the following levels: * p <.05, ** p <.01, *** p <.001. Data on campaign contributions from 1998-2014.

Table 7 Characteristics predicting laranja status (1998–2014) 

Fixed effects Odds ratio SE Sig
Level 2 District Variables
For Intercept 0.293 (0.057) ***
HDI - intermediate 0.846 (0.196)
HDI - high 0.543 (0.129) *
Effective number of candidates 1.006 (0.002) **
Level 1 Candidate and Party Variables
Woman 1.794 (0.482) *
Left 0.725 (0.037) ***
Left*Woman 1.011 (0.097)
Party magnitude 0.701 (0.013) ***
Party magnitude*Woman 1.136 (0.032) ***
Level 1 Election Year Dummies
1998 1.375 (0.145) **
1998*Woman 0.807 (0.252)
2002 1.257 (0.129) *
2002*Woman 0.983 (0.292)
2006 1.246 (0.122) *
2006*Woman 0.933 (0.270)
2010 2.026 (0.200) ***
2010*Woman 2.007 (0.556) *
2014 1.820 (0.184) ***
2014*Woman 2.871 (0.786) ***
Fixed effects Odds ratio SE Sig
Level 1 Candidate Controls
Education - high school 1.040 (0.055)
Education – college 0.516 (0.026) ***
Feeder occupation 0.694 (0.029) ***
Incumbent 0.052 (0.016) ***
Random effects Var. SE Sig
Intercept 0.381 (0.118) ***
Woman slope 0.032 (0.022) ***
N 24683
LL -8210
AIC 16473
BIC 16684

Source: Elaborated by the authors and based on TSE data (2016).

Note: ***p<.001 **p<.01 *p<.05 (two-tailed tests).

The gendered differences displayed here among laranjas reflect discrepancies common to all candidacies, with women candidates being significantly less likely to be married and college-educated than men candidates (although the education gap disappears among elected deputies). One interesting gendered distinction that is unique to laranjas is in the average party magnitude—the party seat share, or number of candidates elected per party and per district (Matland, 1993) 9, which is significantly higher for women laranjas than for men laranjas10. While the magnitude of the difference is small, it offers tentative evidence that such extreme non-viable candidacies are not solely the domain of the country’s smaller, less competitive parties, but rather, represent an element of parties’ electoral strategy.

In Table 6, we see that indeed, Brazil’s larger parties are no stranger to the phenomenon of laranjas11. Table 6 shows, by party (major parties) and by ideology (all parties), for 1998–2014, the percent of all candidates that classify as laranjas, the ratio of women laranjas to men laranjas (a number above 1 means there are more women laranjas than men laranjas ) and then for 2014, the percent of women candidates that classify as laranjas, and the percent women elected. We see from Table 6 that non-leftist parties have a greater proportion of laranjas than do leftist parties 12. Among all parties, with a single exception (PCO), a substantially greater proportion of parties’ women candidates are laranjas relative to their laranjas overall . Next, we examine whether these descriptive patterns of laranjas prevalence hold in multivariate analyses.

Table 6 Proportion of total candidates and women candidates qualifying as laranjas, major parties, by ideology (1998-2014) 

1998-2014 2014
Party % of total candidates classified as laranjas Women laranjas -men laranjas ratio % of women candidates classified as laranjas % women in party delegation
Left 13.1 3.1 42.8
PC DO B 15.7 3.1 44.4 40.0
PDT 8.0 3.1 32.5 5.3
PSB 15.0 3.2 42.2 14.7
PT 5.4 4.4 28.4 12.9
Non-left 17.2 3.3 51.7
PFL/DEM 6.4 4.0 43.2 4.5
PMDB 7.7 4.4 33.7 10.6
PP 9.9 8.5 43.5 5.6
PSDB 7.5 3.4 25.8 9.3

Source: Elaborated by the authors, based on TSE data (2016).

Explaining laranjas

Although there exist other strategic motivations for advancing laranjas, we build on the literatures discussed above to contend that parties’ use of extreme non-viable candidacies serves to comply formally with quota provisions while preserving the status quo. We evaluate our argument by conducting a multivariate analysis that explores the candidate, party, and district characteristics associated with laranja status. Given the dichotomous dependent variable (whether a candidate qualifies as a laranja ), we estimate a logistic regression that evaluates the effect of those characteristics on a candidate’s probability of being a laranja. Acknowledging the salience of state-level electoral dynamics in Brazil’s decentralized elections, we use hierarchical modeling techniques to nest individual candidates within their district contexts. This approach accounts for uncaptured correlation among candidates in each state. We pool returns across elections and include a series of dummy variables for election year to account for additional correlation among candidacies in a given year.

The main contribution of the multivariate analysis is to evaluate whether the gendered patterns in laranjas suggested by the descriptive analyses hold after controlling for conventional indicators of candidate quality and district competitiveness. Those controls help to mitigate the limitations imposed by an ex-post measure of laranja status. We account for differences in educational attainment 13, occupational background 14, and incumbency 15, factors widely associated with candidate quality (Bohn, 2007; Carson, Engstrom and Roberts, 2007; Samuels, 2001). We also take into consideration variation across state elections, controlling for the competitiveness of the election through effective number of candidates16. To assess our argument that laranjas represent an element of quota maneuvering, we hypothesize that woman will exercise a positive effect on laranja status even once such controls are introduced. Further, we hypothesize that heightened gendered effects will manifest in the years of quota introduction (1998) and reform (2010, 2014).

H1: Woman will exercise a positive effect on the probability of laranja status.

H2: Woman*1998, woman*2010, and woman*2014 will each exercise a positive effect on the probability of laranja status.

We hypothesize that leftist parties will be less likely to advance women laranja candidacies than non-left parties. Historically, leftist parties have been more open to women and the positive discrimination measures that would facilitate their involvement in formal politics (Kittilson, 2006). Indeed, Brazil’s leftist parties have significantly higher proportions of women in their national and state-level leadership structures than do non-left parties (Wylie, 2018; Wylie and Santos, 2016). Among the 28 parties that won seats to the Chamber of Deputies in 2014, the average proportion of women in parties’ national executive committees that year was 17.6%; for leftist parties it was 29.2%, more than twice that of non-leftist parties (13.8%). When parties afford women space at the decision-making table, the former are more likely to incorporate a gendered frame of reference into party decisions. Women leaders will be in a position to (but will not necessarily) lobby other party leaders on behalf of women and work to recruit and support viable women candidates rather than laranjas (Kittilson, 2006; Wylie, 2018). We alternatively employ a scaled and dichotomous coding of ideology, using the latter when results are similar to facilitate interpretation 17.

H3: Left and left*woman will each exercise a negative effect on the probability of laranja status.

Were the laranjas phenomenon solely an implication of the plethora of candidates and non-competitive parties involved in Brazilian elections, we would expect its use to be confined to (or at least more common among) smaller parties. This is due to the seeming irrationality of running laranja candidates in Brazil’s OLPR elections, where candidate votes pool to the party and the Electoral Law allows excess candidacies. We therefore might expect electorally competitive parties to be less likely to advance laranjas. Nevertheless, we have argued that most of Brazil’s major parties remain resistant to earnest implementation of the gender quota and thus use laranjas to formally comply with the quota provisions without disrupting the status quo. Accordingly, we hypothesize that the negative effect of party competitiveness on laranjas will only hold for men candidates. We operationalize party competitiveness with party magnitude, or the number of seats won by a party in a state election (Matland, 1993), and interact the variable with woman to assess that expectation 18.

H4: Party magnitude will exercise a negative effect on the probability of laranja status. Reflective of the anticipated gendered effect, Party magnitude*woman will exercise a positive effect on laranja status.

Table 7 displays odds ratios from a hierarchical logistic model of laranja status (pr ( laranja =1)) in the 1994–2014 elections for the Chamber of Deputies. Statistically significant odds ratios above one indicate that the variable makes the probability of laranja status greater; those below one indicate that the variable makes laranja status less likely. We confirm a gendered pattern in extreme non-viable candidacies; women were 3.4 times more likely than men candidates to classify as laranjas. As demonstrated in Table 7, the main effect of woman remains positive (1.794) and statistically significant once woman * year interactions are introduced, with such gendered discrepancies being exacerbated in the elections following quota reforms (2010, 2014), supporting H1-H2 about the gendered character of laranjas .

Figure 1 illustrates the pattern further with a breakdown of the marginal effects indicating significant spikes in laranjas occurring in 1998 and 2010, and significant gender differences emerging as early as 2002 and catapulting in 2010, growing again in 2014. In 1994, the predicted probability of women candidates being laranjas (holding all else constant) was 0.16; that probability jumped to 0.39 in 2010 and 0.44 in 2014. For men candidates, the predicted probability of being a laranja was 0.09 in 1994 and reached a high of 0.16 in 2010 before falling slightly in 2014. As anticipated in H2, there are clearly gendered patterns in the use of extreme non-viable candidates. Those findings offer empirical support to the literature discussed above on party resistance to gender quotas.

Source: Estimates are based on the model presented in Table 7.

Figure 1 Gendered effects of laranjas, by election 

Looking to party characteristics, as predicted in H3, leftist parties were significantly less likely than non-leftist parties to advance laranjas. And as expected, leftist parties appear less reliant on women laranjas than non-leftist parties. Interactive effects demonstrate that while leftist women candidates were no more likely than men leftist candidates to classify as laranjas, among non-leftist candidates, women were three times more likely than men candidates to classify as laranjas. While there is party variation in the use of extreme non-viable candidates overall and among women, leftist parties are not exempt. Among men, the predicted probabilities of leftist and non-leftist candidates classifying as laranjas (holding all else constant) are 0.11 and 0.14, respectively. For women candidates, the predicted probability of classifying as a laranja is 0.26 for leftists and 0.32 for non-leftists. The findings also yield support for our expectations about party magnitude articulated in H4. While candidates running with more competitive parties were less likely to classify as laranjas, the positive significant interaction of party magnitude with woman demonstrates that the effect of party magnitude is gendered; for women, the negative effect of party competitiveness on their likelihood of laranja status was diminished and more varied than the same effect among men.

Together, the descriptive and multivariate analyses demonstrate that the phenomenon of laranjas is a salient feature of Brazilian elections with a remarkably gendered character. As expected by the literature on gender quotas and gendered institutional change, the use of laranjas has intensified in the wake of reforms to the gender quota that incentivize its enforcement. We also find that the prevalence and gender dynamics of laranjas varies by party, with leftist parties being less likely to advance laranjas, and non-left women candidates significantly more likely than non-left men candidates to classify as laranjas. Future research should further examine variation across parties and contexts to shed light on why some parties have proven to be better able to adapt than others to legal and societal changes demanding greater inclusion of women; research from Funk, Hinojosa and Piscopo (2017) suggests that the exogenous “decision environment” may be more salient than party ideology. Evidence of the relative electoral costs and benefits of such adaptation could help to convince intransigent party elites of the electoral utility of cultivating viable women candidacies in lieu of widespread offerings of sacrificial lambs.


The advancement of laranja candidacies is evident and follows a gendered pattern. As this article has shown, laranjas constitute an important element of party strategy, exploited to comply formally with legal provisions such as the gender quota and the Clean Record Law without disturbing the status quo, in a typical instance of layered institutional change (Mahoney and Thelen, 2009; Waylen, 2014). This article lends additional weight to studies by Araújo (1999, 2009, 2010), Gatto (2016), Wylie (2018), and Wylie and Santos (2016), who point to the designed dilution of Brazil’s quota by men politicians keen to limit its potential for change. In the wake of attempts to close the loopholes that had undermined quota effectiveness, the frequency of laranjas increased, spiking precisely at those moments of quota reform (2010, 2014).

In line with the sacrificial lamb metaphor, naïve laranjas are not privy to their party’s strategic decision to treat their candidacy as one in name only. Yet strategic laranjas willingly lend their names to the party without campaigning, typically with an eye toward garnering support in subsequent elections or landing an administrative position. Future studies should apply the typology and operationalization introduced here to consider those variations motivating laranja candidacies, which could help electoral officials as they work to curtail the prevalence of laranjas. We encourage the broader literature on sacrificial lambs to also consider variation in intent; the sacrificial lambs terminology conjures a naïve novice being swept along by the party, but in many instances the lamb may be in on the sacrifice, acting strategically for the party’s interest and/or to accrue their own individual political capital.

The recently established Electoral Fund is jeopardized by laranjas; scarce state resources cannot be squandered on extreme non-viable candidates. Greater enforcement and accountability over the laranjas phenomenon will not only improve the gender quota but will also be essential if public financing of campaigns is to be a viable possibility for enhancing the representativeness of Brazil’s formal political sphere.

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4A version of this paper was presented at the 2015 annual meeting of the American Political Science Association. We would like to thank participants at that panel as well as our anonymous reviewers for their constructive feedback. All errors are our own. Replication files are available at <> .

5“Professionals” includes all salaried workers, distinguishing that category from business persons, elected officials, military personnel, students, religious workers, pensioners, and state officials (bureaucrats, judges, and prosecutors).

6A question on candidate “color/race” was first added to candidate registration documents in 2014, at last permitting analysis of the effects of self-declared racial identity on candidates’ electoral prospects. Since the 2010 census, a majority of Brazilians have declared preto/a or pardo/a as their race, which state, activist, and academic sources often combine to constitute an Afro-descendant racial category ( Wylie, 2018).

7For example, São Paulo, despite having a large district magnitude (70) and electorate, often has a low quotient minimum driven by vote champions, with the 1998 elections offering a notorious example of the coattails effect of vote-pooling under OLPR—Vanderlei Assis was elected despite earning only 275 votes, thanks to the 1.5 million votes earned by his co-partisan in PRONA, Enéas Carneiro.

8We thank an anonymous reviewer for this suggestion.

9Unlike district magnitude (each district’s number of seats contested in a race), party magnitude captures party fragmentation. A district can have a large magnitude, with most parties still only electing 1–2 deputies, particularly in the OLPR context ( Matland, 1993).

10Although not displayed here, for non- laranjas and for elected deputies, the party magnitude of women candidates’ parties is significantly lower than that of men candidates. We evaluate the relationship further in the multivariate model below.

11Table A3 in the Appendix includes the percentage of total candidates and women candidates that classify as laranjas, as well as the ratio of women laranjas to men laranjas, for all parties.

12The left/non-left differences are statistically significant at the p<0.001 level.

13Educational attainment is coded ordinally, with 1 representing less than high school education, 2 a high school degree, and 3 a college degree (or higher).

14Occupation is coded dichotomously, with candidates from a feeder occupation (administrator, lawyer, doctor, politician, public servant/bureaucrat, educator, businessperson) coded as 1 and all others 0.

15Incumbency is coded dichotomously, with candidates seeking immediate reelection coded as 1 and all others as 0.

16The effective number of candidates speaks to district competitiveness while accounting for the fragmentation of the vote; it is equal to 1 divided by the sum of the squared vote share of all candidates running per state election ( Taagepera and Shugart, 1989). This variable is highly correlated with district magnitude (ρ=0.88), which ranges from 8 to 70. Since the former offers more information, we include it in the model instead of district magnitude.

17 Power and Zucco (2009, 2011), 2011), 2011 ) and Power and Rodrigues-Silveira (2019) draw on surveys of parliamentarians to calculate scaled estimates of party ideology; we use those as well as Mainwaring’s (1999) dichotomous classification of party ideology (left/non-left), updated by referencing party websites and statutes. The parties coded as left are as follows: for 1994–2014, PCdoB, PCB, PCO, PDT, PPS, PSB, PSOL, PSTU, PT, PV; the PSDB was also classified as left in 1994.

18Unlike district magnitude (each district’s number of seats contested in a race), party magnitude captures party fragmentation. A district can have a large magnitude, with most parties still only electing 1–2 deputies, particularly in the OLPR context ( Matland, 1993).

Table A1

Minimum quotient by state (1998–2014) 

State 1998 2002 2006 2010 2014 1998-2014
AC 5,477 7,605 14,785 15,849 17,903 12,043
AL 25,525 45,085 67,784 54,937 53,284 51,237
AM 38,310 50,588 81,229 85,535 71,878 66,783
AP 6,516 7,644 9,009 10,945 10,007 9,013
BA 37,569 39,401 27,729 41,585 39,904 37,343
CE 43,789 51,278 44,647 76,915 80,578 61,372
DF 43,414 27,939 55,917 51,491 32,843 41,731
ES 40,230 39,047 33,863 60,700 45,525 43,643
GO 41,700 60,254 49,949 76,796 77,925 61,612
MA 37,742 34,468 61,095 30,036 50,658 44,344
MG 37,854 26,173 35,681 40,093 45,381 37,744
MS 19,169 39,421 55,179 60,039 54,813 47,499
State 1998 2002 2006 2010 2014 1998-2014
MT 42,591 58,293 52,401 66,482 62,923 57,303
PA 31,749 42,280 42,738 68,547 63,671 51,111
PB 16,649 37,224 39,361 79,412 63,433 48,996
PE 35,972 54,003 56,247 41,728 28,585 44,813
PI 42,547 73,257 42,151 69,287 80,839 62,619
PR 34,769 43,869 63,032 38,649 59,974 49,183
RJ 13,635 20,435 23,459 13,018 26,526 20,015
RN 51,509 79,399 69,277 55,086 64,445 65,070
RO 15,220 13,777 26,573 15,026 24,146 18,766
RR 5,253 6,488 8,153 5,903 6,733 6,702
RS 41,679 43,716 44,472 28,236 60,523 44,302
SC 45,043 37,980 65,770 65,545 52,757 54,348
SE 27,025 28,879 41,850 56,208 44,263 39,323
SP 37,604 275 11,132 42,743 22,097 23,285
TO 23,759 25,851 28,626 38,233 41,802 31,013
Mean 32,468 30,004 35,677 40,652 41,140 36,599
Std dev (11,478) (19,868) (19,148) (19,045) (18,714) (18758)

Source: Elaborated by the authors with TSE data (2016), following Santos and Schmitt (1997).

Table A2

Bonferroni Tests Evaluating Differences in Laranjas Over Time (1998–2014) 

Comparison of Laranjas by Year (Bonferroni)
Year 1994 1998 2002 2006 2010
1998 0.040
2002 0.042 0.003
0 1
2006 0.044 0.004 0.002
0 1 1
2010 0.122 0.082 0.080 0.078
0 0 0 0
2014 0.166 0.126 0.124 0.122 0.044
0 0 0 0 0

Source: Elaborated by the authors and based on TSE data (2016).


Table A2 further assesses whether the difference in the average of laranja candidates by year is statistically significant. A significant F value of 137.42 tells us that the means are not all equal (or at least one election cycle differs from zero). We use Bonferroni, Scheffe, and Sidak multiple comparison tests, which examine the differences between each pair of means reported in Table A2 (Bonferroni tests are displayed). The difference between the average of laranja candidacies in 1994 and 1998 is 3.99, and all three corrections show this difference as significant at the.05 level or better. The same conclusion holds for the subsequent elections when compared with the 1994 elections, although the size of the difference in the averages increases up to 16.6 considering the 2014 elections. However, the difference in the averages is not quite significant at the.05 level between the 1998 vs. 2002, and 1998 vs. 2006 elections. The same conclusion holds between the 2002 vs. 2006 elections. What is most striking is that the 2010 and the subsequent 2014 elections are significantly different from all previous election cycles regarding the difference in the averages of laranja candidacies.

Table A3

Proportion of total candidates and women candidates qualifying as laranjas, by party (1998–2014) 

1998-2014 2014 1998-2014 2014
Party Percent of Total Cands. Women-Men Ratio Percent of Women Cands. Party Percent of Total Cands. Women-Men Ratio Percent of Women Cands.
PAN 24.7 2.2 PRTB 34.7 1.9 73.3
PC do B 15.7 3.1 44.4 PSB 15.0 3.2 42.2
PCB 36.5 1.7 62.5 PSC 20.0 2.2 56.5
PCO 37.7 0.9 0.0 PSD 15.4 4.7 59.5
PDT 8.0 3.1 32.5 PSDB 7.5 3.4 25.8
PEN 35.2 2.8 67.3 PSDC 31.3 1.9 54.8
PFL 6.4 4.0 43.2 PSL 25.8 2.1 50.0
PGT 26.9 1.3 PSOL 27.7 2.3 51.3
PHS 27.8 3.6 57.4 PST 21.4 1.9
PHS/PSN 25.5 1.8 PSTU 30.7 2.1 65.0
PMDB 7.7 4.4 33.7 PT 5.4 4.4 28.4
PMN 27.8 2.8 70.2 PT do B 23.4 2.4 46.4
PP 9.9 8.5 43.5 PTB 11.0 4.4 44.8
PP/PPB 6.5 2.3 PTC 41.1 1.8 73.9
PPL 40.0 2.0 62.5 PTN 38.0 2.4 79.4
PPS 12.8 2.9 60.0 PTRB 66.7
PR 18.1 6.4 46.8 PV 15.8 2.0 37.5
PR/PL 9.0 1.9 SD 17.4 15.9 51.3
PRB 19.3 4.3 46.6
PRN 31.1 1.1 Left 13.1 3.1 42.8
PRONA 18.9 1.3 Non-left 17.2 3.3 51.7
PROS 20.0 4.3 45.8
PRP 25.1 2.7 63.3 Total 15.7 3.2 48.6

Source: Elaborated by the authors and based on TSE data (2016).

Received: June 22, 2018; Accepted: February 19, 2019

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