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

Author

Listed:
  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Massimiliano Rigon & Giulia Martina Tanzi, 2012. "Does gender matter for public spending? Empirical evidence from Italian municipalities," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 862, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_862_12
    as

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    File URL: http://www.bancaditalia.it/pubblicazioni/temi-discussione/2012/2012-0862/en_tema_862.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
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    3. Irma Clots-Figueras, 2012. "Are Female Leaders Good for Education? Evidence from India," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 212-244, January.
    4. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinski, 1996. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(1), pages 65-96.
    5. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114.
    6. Stefano Gagliarducci & M. Daniele Paserman, 2012. "Gender Interactions within Hierarchies: Evidence from the Political Arena," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(3), pages 1021-1052.
    7. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
    8. Patricia Funk & Christina Gathmann, 2015. "Gender gaps in policy making: evidence from direct democracy in Switzerland," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 30(81), pages 141-181.
    9. 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, September.
    10. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-474, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Braga, Michela & Scervini, Francesco, 2017. "The performance of politicians: The effect of gender quotas," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 1-14.
    2. 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.
    3. Davide Fantino & Alessandra Mori & Diego Scalise, 2012. "Collaboration between firms and universities in Italy: the role of a firm�s proximity to top-rated departments," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 884, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    4. repec:zbw:ifweej:20178 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Schild, Christopher-Johannes, 2013. "Do female mayors make a difference? Evidence from Bavaria," FAU Discussion Papers in Economics 07/2013, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Institute for Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    gender; political representation; municipal expenditure; instrumental variable;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • C36 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Instrumental Variables (IV) Estimation
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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