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

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  • Katharina E. Hofer

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Katharina E. Hofer, 2013. "Does Female Suffrage Increase Public Support for Government Spending? Evidence from Swiss Ballots," CESifo Working Paper Series 4467, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4467
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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, September.
    2. 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.
    3. Bertocchi, Graziella, 2011. "The enfranchisement of women and the welfare state," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 535-553, May.
    4. Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance in Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074.
    5. Erzo F. P. Luttmer & Monica Singhal, 2011. "Culture, Context, and the Taste for Redistribution," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 157-179, February.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Alois Stutzer & Lukas Kienast, 2005. "Demokratische Beteiligung und Staatsausgaben: Die Auswirkungen des Frauenstimmrechts," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 141(IV), pages 617-650, December.
    9. 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.
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    11. 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 914-927, October.
    12. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Audinga Baltrunaite & Alessandra Casarico & Paola Profeta & Giulia Savio, 2016. "Let the Voters Choose Women," CESifo Working Paper Series 5693, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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