Did Women's Suffrage Change the Size and Scope of Government?

Journal of Political Economy (Impact Factor: 2.9). 02/1999; 107(6):1163-1198. DOI: 10.1086/250093
Source: RePEc


This paper examines the growth of government during this century as a result of giving women the right to vote. Using cross-sectional time-series data for 1870–1940, we examine state government expenditures and revenue as well as voting by U.S. House and Senate state delegations and the passage of a wide range of different state laws. Suffrage coincided with immediate increases in state government expenditures and revenue and more liberal voting patterns for federal representatives, and these effects continued growing over time as more women took advantage of the franchise. Contrary to many recent suggestions, the gender gap is not something that has arisen since the 1970s, and it helps explain why American government started growing when it did. More married women did not vote for Dole because of a widespread sense of societal insecurity: ‘‘It is not that they distrust their husband, but they have seen

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Available from: Lawrence Kenny
    • "Previous research demonstrates that the effect of women's suffrage grows over time. Voter turnout of women slowly increased over time after the extension of voting rights to women (Duverger, 1954; Lott and Kenny 1999: 1188). In the United States, rates of women's voter turnout only began to equal that of men's turnout in the 1980s, 60 years after women were enfranchised (Conway, 2002). "
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    DESCRIPTION: This article examines the relationship between democracy and gender equality. In particular, it contrasts the impact of long-term stocks of democracy with the contemporary level of democracy and the participation of women in democracy. It contends that democracy should be thought of as a historical phenomenon with consequences that develop over many years and decades and that women’s participation should be included as an important component of democracy. The main argument is that long-term democracy together with women’s suffrage should provide new opportunities for women to promote their interests through mobilization and elections. A cross-national time-series statistical analysis finds that countries with greater stocks of democracy and longer experience of women’s suffrage have a higher proportion of the population that is female, a greater ratio of female life expectancy to male life expectancy, lower fertility rates, and higher rates of female labor force participation.
    No preview · Research · Oct 2015
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    • "Women suffrage (Lott and Kenny, 1999; Funk and Guthmann, 2006) which caused the growth of government. Blacks enfranchisement case (after 1964) presented by Sieglie (1997), shows how this group political empowerment caused redistribution increase and budget deficit worsening. "
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    ABSTRACT: Advocates of the war against discrimination and affirmative action claim it is necessary to set up additional regulatory procedures that will defend interests of minorities who, previously, were not given enough chances to succeed. Because there is no set definition of a minority who suffered from discrimination in the past (Historically Excluded Groups [HEGs] consider all women to be a minority), law-enforcement practices are to a large degree dependent on precedence (judicial authorities) as well as the behavior of bureaucrats who have the authority to defend people against discrimination. Incentives and the true criteria for choosing minorities will be analyzed in this report. There are practices in the USA and Israel, as well as statistics of EEOC practices (a committee on equal rights in hiring, that is a kind of specialized public prosecution office) supporting the hypothesis that the main anti-discriminatory activity aims to mobilize groups who traditionally voted against a limited government, to vote for a nanny state that provides cradle to grave care.
    Full-text · Conference Paper · Apr 2015
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    • "Aidt et al. (2006) and Aidt and Dallal (2008) examine the effect of female suffrage on fiscal policies in Europe and show that it increased public spending on health, education, housing, redistribution and social insurance. Lott and Kenny (1999) also argue that the adoption of female suffrage coincided with increases in expenditures and more liberal voting patterns for representatives. Edlund and Pande (2003) explain female preferences with respect to redistribution and left-wing policies by the decline in marriage rates which made women relatively poorer than men in the United States. "
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    ABSTRACT: Does the gender of political representatives affect the extent to which they adhere to the voter majority's preferences? By matching individual male and female representatives' votes on legislative proposals with real referendum outcomes on the same issues, we obtain a direct measure of divergence. We find that female and male representatives adhere equally close to the majority's preferences if party affiliations are taken into account. This suggests that observed gender differences with respect to the national majority of voters may be reduced to an ideological left–right dimension.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Economics and Politics
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