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Does Female Suffrage Increase Public Support for Government Spending? Evidence from Swiss Ballots

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  • Katharina E. Jaronicki

Abstract

In this paper, I analyze the voting outcomes of two very similar Swiss referendum ballots concerning the federal government’s competency to levy income, capital and turnover taxes to find out how the enfranchisement of women influences public support for government spending. The first ballot took place shortly before the extension of suffrage to women in February 1971, and the other shortly thereafter. I estimate the impact of introducing female voting on the difference in acceptance rates for the two propositions. Surprisingly, I find that approval for government spending is higher among the male population. I provide additional evidence from post-ballot surveys after similar ballots to overcome potential strategic voting problems which cannot be answered by analyzing aggregate data. My results suggest rethinking the notion that female suffrage caused public spending to increase.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4467.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4467

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Keywords: female suffrage; gender preference gaps; voting; direct democracy;

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  1. Bertocchi, Graziella, 2007. "The Enfranchisement of Women and the Welfare State," IZA Discussion Papers 2922, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Alois Stutzer & Lukas Kienast, 2004. "Demokratische Beteiligung und Staatsausgaben: Die Auswirkungen des Frauenstimmrechts," CREMA Working Paper Series 2004-26, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  3. Grant Miller, 2008. "Women's Suffrage, Political Responsiveness, and Child Survival in American History," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(3), pages 1287-1327, August.
  4. Erzo F.P. Luttmer & Monica Singhal, 2008. "Culture, Context, and the Taste for Redistribution," NBER Working Papers 14268, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Selten, Reinhard & Ockenfels, Axel, 1998. "An experimental solidarity game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 517-539, March.
  6. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2005. "Do Women Shy Away from Competition? Do Men Compete too Much?," Discussion Papers 04-030, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  7. Renate Schubert, 1999. "Financial Decision-Making: Are Women Really More Risk-Averse?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 381-385, May.
  8. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
  9. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
  10. Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance In Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074, August.
  11. Lena Edlund & Rohini Pande, 2002. "Why Have Women Become Left-Wing? The Political Gender Gap And The Decline In Marriage," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 917-961, August.
  12. Abrams, Burton A & Settle, Russell F, 1999. " Women's Suffrage and the Growth of the Welfare State," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 100(3-4), pages 289-300, September.
  13. Husted, Thomas A & Kenny, Lawrence W, 1997. "The Effect of the Expansion of the Voting Franchise on the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 54-82, February.
  14. Patricia Funk, 2010. "Social Incentives and Voter Turnout: Evidence from the Swiss Mail Ballot System," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(5), pages 1077-1103, 09.
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