Men, Women, and the Ballot. Gender Imbalances and Suffrage Extensions in US States
AbstractWoman suffrage led to one of the greatest enfranchisements in history. Yet, women neither won the right to vote by force, nor did men grant it under the imminent threat of female unrest. These facts are difficult to reconcile with leading political economy theories of suffrage extensions. In this paper, we study suffrage extensions at the level of US states and territories in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to learn about the factors that accelerated, respectively delayed, a jurisdiction's transition to woman suffrage. Our results show that the general scarcity of women in the American West, or a high sex ratio, was the single most important factor behind the region's lead in the enfranchisement of women in the US. High ratios of grantors (men) to grantees (women) of the franchise appear to have promoted earlier suffrage extensions, as these imbalances reduced the political costs and risks for male legislators and electorates. Our finding may provide a more general insight into the economics of voluntary power sharing. All else equal, smaller groups should find it much easier to acquire rights or to get admitted to economic and political clubs
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its series Kiel Working Papers with number 1625.
Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: May 2010
Date of revision:
Woman Suffrage; Democratization; Political Economy; Power Sharing; Sex Ratio;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
- J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
- K10 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - General (Constitutional Law)
- N41 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
- N42 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-06-11 (All new papers)
- NEP-CDM-2010-06-11 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-HIS-2010-06-11 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-POL-2010-06-11 (Positive Political Economics)
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