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


  • Rigon, Massimiliano
  • Tanzi, Giulia M.


This paper studies whether municipal expenditure in Italy is influenced by female representation in city councils. To correctly capture the causal relation we use the instrumental variable technique. Our instrument is based on a temporary change in the Italian normative occurred between 1993 and 1995 that reserved a gender quota in party lists for municipal elections, causing an exogenous change in the number of women elected in city councils. We take advantage of the fact that not all the municipalities have been treated by the law, due to its short period of enforcement. Despite the existence of gender specific preferences in the society, we find no evidence that the allocation of resources among different spending categories is affected by the gender of politicians. Our results are consistent with the Median voter theorem. Alternatively, they may suggest that the gender is not a determinant 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

  • Rigon, Massimiliano & Tanzi, Giulia M., 2011. "Does gender matter for public spending? Empirical evidence from Italian municipalities," MPRA Paper 34845, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:34845

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fernando Ferreira & Joseph Gyourko, 2009. "Do Political Parties Matter? Evidence from U.S. Cities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(1), pages 399-422.
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    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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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    Cited by:

    1. 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.

    More about this item


    gender; political representation; municipal expenditure;

    JEL classification:

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

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