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Does gender matter for public spending? Empirical evidence from Italian municipalities

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  • Massimiliano Rigon

    ()
    (Bank of Italy)

  • Giulia Martina Tanzi

    ()
    (Bank of Italy)

Abstract

This paper studies whether the allocation of municipal expenditure in Italy is influenced by female representation in Municipal Councils. Despite the existence of gender-specific preferences in society, we find no clear evidence that the amount of resources distributed among different spending categories is significantly affected by politicians’ gender. The results are robust to a large variety of specifications and estimation techniques, where we also take into account the existence of an endogeneity problem. This is addressed using an instrumental variable approach, based on a temporary change in Italian law that reserved a gender quota in party lists for municipal elections, thus causing an exogenous increase in the number of women elected in Municipal Councils. The substantial absence of a gender bias is consistent with the median voter theorem, suggesting that politicians’ preferences and personal characteristics do not matter in public choices. Alternatively, it may be that gender is not one of the determinants of politicians’ voting behaviour, implying that the preferences of the women involved in political activities are close to those of their male colleagues.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) with number 862.

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Date of creation: Apr 2012
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Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_862_12

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Keywords: gender; political representation; municipal expenditure; instrumental variable;

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  1. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . ""An Economic Model of Representative Democracy''," CARESS Working Papres 95-02, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  2. Irma Clots-Figueras, 2007. "Are female leaders good for education? : Evidence from India," Economics Working Papers we077342, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  3. De Paola, Maria & Scoppa, Vincenzo & Lombardo, Rosetta, 2010. "Can gender quotas break down negative stereotypes? Evidence from changes in electoral rules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(5-6), pages 344-353, June.
  4. Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
  5. Stefano Gagliarducci & M. Daniele Paserman, 2009. "Gender Interactions within Hierarchies: Evidence from the Political Arena," NBER Working Papers 14893, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo, 2004. "Women as policy makers: Evidence from a randomized policy experiment in india," Framed Field Experiments 00224, The Field Experiments Website.
  7. Osborne, Martin J & Slivinski, Al, 1996. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 65-96, February.
  8. Patricia Funk & Christina Gathmann, 2008. "Gender gaps in policy making: Evidence from direct democracy in Switzerland," Economics Working Papers 1126, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  9. Fernando Ferreira & Joseph Gyourko, 2009. "Do Political Parties Matter? Evidence from U.S. Cities-super-," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(1), pages 399-422, February.
  10. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-74, June.
  11. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
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Cited by:
  1. De Paola, Maria & Scoppa, Vincenzo & De Benedetto, Marco Alberto, 2014. "The impact of gender quotas on electoral participation: Evidence from Italian municipalities," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 141-157.
  2. Schild, Christopher-Johannes, 2013. "Do female mayors make a difference? Evidence from Bavaria," IWQW Discussion Paper Series 07/2013, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Institut für Wirtschaftspolitik und Quantitative Wirtschaftsforschung (IWQW).

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