IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

The enfranchisement of women and the welfare state

  • Bertocchi, Graziella

We offer a rationale for the decision to extend the franchise to women within a politico-economic model where men are richer than women, women display a higher preference for public goods, and women's disenfranchisement carries a societal cost. Men and women are matched within households which are the center of the decision process. We derive the optimal tax rate under two alternative regimes: a males-only enfranchisement regime and a universal enfranchisement regime. The latter is associated with a higher tax rate but, as industrialization raises the reward to intellectual labor relative to physical labor, women's relative wage increases, thus decreasing the difference between the tax rates. When the cost of disenfranchisement becomes higher than the cost of the higher tax rate which applies under universal enfranchisement, the male median voter is better off extending the franchise to women. A consequent expansion of the size of government is only to be expected in societies with a relatively high cost of disenfranchisement. We empirically test the implications of the model over the 1870-1930 period. We proxy the gender wage gap with the level of per capita income and the cost of disenfranchisement with the presence of catholicism, which is associated with a more traditional view of women's role and thus a lower cost. The gender gap in the preferences for public goods is proxied by the availability of divorce, which implies marital instability and a more vulnerable economic position for women. Consistently with the model's predictions, women's suffrage is correlated positively with per capita income and negatively with the presence of catholicism and the availability of divorce, while women's suffrage increases the size of government only in non-catholic countries.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014292110000711
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 55 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 (May)
Pages: 535-553

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:55:y:2011:i:4:p:535-553
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Raquel Fernandez & Alessandra Fogli, 2005. "Culture: An Empirical Investigation of Beliefs, Work, and Fertility," NBER Working Papers 11268, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Stevenson, Betsey & Wolfers, Justin, 2007. "Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces," IZA Discussion Papers 2602, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Galor, Oded & Weil, David N, 1996. "The Gender Gap, Fertility, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 374-87, June.
  4. A Oswald & N Powdthavee, 2008. "Daughters and Left Wing Voting," Discussion Papers 08/18, Department of Economics, University of York.
  5. Doepke, Matthias & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2007. "Occupational Choice and the Spirit of Capitalism," IZA Discussion Papers 2949, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Botticini, Maristella & Eckstein, Zvi, 2005. "Jewish Occupational Selection: Education, Restrictions, or Minorities?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(04), pages 922-948, December.
  7. 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.
  8. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer, 2001. "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 2727, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Doepke, Matthias & Tertilt, Michèle, 2008. "Women’s Liberation: What’s in It for Men?," IZA Discussion Papers 3421, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. John R. Lott & Jr. & Lawrence W. Kenny, 1999. "Did Women's Suffrage Change the Size and Scope of Government?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1163-1198, December.
  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, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 917-961.
  12. 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.
  13. Claudia Goldin, 1990. "Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gold90-1, March.
  14. Lindert Peter H., 1994. "The Rise of Social Spending, 1880-1930," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 1-37, January.
  15. Yann Algan & Pierre Cahuc, 2006. "Job protection: the Macho Hypothesis," Post-Print hal-00395385, HAL.
  16. Bertocchi, Graziella, 2007. "The Enfranchisement of Women and the Welfare State," CEPR Discussion Papers 6396, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Luis Cubeddu & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2003. "Families As Shocks," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 671-682, 04/05.
  18. Justman, Moshe & Gradstein, Mark, 1999. "The Industrial Revolution, Political Transition, and the Subsequent Decline in Inequality in 19th-Century Britain," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 109-127, April.
  19. Graziella Bertocchi, 2006. "The Law of Primogeniture and the Transition from Landed Aristocracy to Industrial Democracy," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 43-70, 03.
  20. Alberto Bisin & Thierry Verdier, 2000. ""Beyond the Melting Pot": Cultural Transmission, Marriage, and the Evolution of Ethnic and Religious Traits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 955-988.
  21. Cipriani, Marco & Giuliano, Paola & Jeanne, Olivier, 2007. "Like Mother Like Son? Experimental Evidence on the Transmission of Values from Parents to Children," IZA Discussion Papers 2768, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  22. Paola Giuliano, 2005. "Living Arrangements in Western Europe: Does Cultural Origin Matter?," 2005 Meeting Papers 189, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  23. Sébastien Wälti & Signe Krogstrup, 2006. "Women and budget deficits," Trinity Economics Papers tep0307, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics, revised Apr 2007.
  24. Guido Tabellini, 2010. "Culture and Institutions: Economic Development in the Regions of Europe," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 677-716, 06.
  25. Acemoglu, Daron & Robinson, James A, 1998. "Why did the West Extend the Franchise? Democracy, Inequality and Growth in Historical Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 1797, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  26. Toke Aidt & Bianca Dallal, 2008. "Female voting power: the contribution of women’s suffrage to the growth of social spending in Western Europe (1869–1960)," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 134(3), pages 391-417, March.
  27. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2006. "Does Culture Affect Economic Outcomes?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 23-48, Spring.
  28. Dora L. Costa, 2000. "From Mill Town to Board Room: The Rise of Women's Paid Labor," NBER Working Papers 7608, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Fernández, Raquel, 2009. "Women's Rights and Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 7464, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  30. Ebonya Washington, 2006. "Female Socialization: How Daughters Affect Their Legislator Fathers' Voting on Women's Issues," NBER Working Papers 11924, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. Grant Miller, 2008. "Women's Suffrage, Political Responsiveness, and Child Survival in American History," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(3), pages 1287-1327.
  32. Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1998. "The Quality of Government," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1847, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  33. Leora Friedberg, 1998. "Did Unilateral Divorce Raise Divorce Rates? Evidence from Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 6398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  34. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1988. "Rational Household Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 63-90, January.
  35. Alesina, Alberto & Ichino, Andrea & Karabarbounis, Loukas, 2007. "Gender Based Taxation and the Division of Family Chores," IZA Discussion Papers 3233, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  36. Tiago V. De V. Cavalcanti & José Tavares, 2011. "Women Prefer Larger Governments: Growth, Structural Transformation, And Government Size," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 49(1), pages 155-171, 01.
  37. Apps, Patricia, 1982. "Institutional inequality and tax incidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 217-242, July.
  38. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2003. "People's opium? Religion and economic attitudes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 225-282, January.
  39. Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo, 2004. "Women as Policy Makers: Evidence from a Randomized Policy Experiment in India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1409-1443, 09.
  40. Sascha O. Becker & Ludger Woessmann, 2008. "Luther and the Girls: Religious Denomination and the Female Education Gap in 19th Century Prussia," CESifo Working Paper Series 2414, CESifo Group Munich.
  41. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2001. "Understanding International Differences in the Gender Pay Gap," NBER Working Papers 8200, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  42. Braun, Sebastian & Kvasnicka, Michael, 2009. "Men,Women, and the Ballot – Woman Suffrage in the United States," Ruhr Economic Papers 93, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI), Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
  43. Bolton, Patrick & Roland, Gerard, 1996. "Distributional Conflicts, Factor Mobility, and Political Integration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 99-104, May.
  44. Aidt, T.S. & Dutta, Jayasri & Loukoianova, Elena, 2006. "Democracy comes to Europe: Franchise extension and fiscal outcomes 1830-1938," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 249-283, February.
  45. Rick Geddes & Dean Lueck, 2002. "The Gains From Self-Ownership and the Expansion of Women's Rights," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1079-1092, September.
  46. Ann L. Owen & Rongling You, 2009. "Growth, Attitudes towards Women, and Women's Welfare," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(1), pages 134-150, 02.
  47. Bertocchi, Graziella & Spagat, Michael, 2001. "The Politics of Co-optation," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 591-607, December.
  48. Raquel Fernández, 2009. "Women's Rights and Development," NBER Working Papers 15355, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:55:y:2011:i:4:p:535-553. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.