Identity and Public Policy: Do Female State Legislators Affect Crime in the US?
Muhammad Farhan Majid
Washington University in Saint Louis
January 19, 2009
Current research argues that female politicians steer funding away from correction institutions toward other activities related to their policy preferences, such as health care, and that this diversion negatively affects the state spending on prisons. This paper shows that female politicians in the US do not have any immediate negative effect on actual crime rates. The OLS estimates show that female politicians have a significant but negligible effect on crime. To address any endogeniety concerns, I use success rates of female politicians in close elections against male politicians as an instrument. The instrumental variable results show that female politicians do not have a statistically significant effect on crime rates. I then make recommendations for future research, taking into account the diversity of policy makers' identities. To the best of my knowledge this is the first paper which links economics of crime to the growing literature on identity of policy makers.
Keywords: Crime, Gender, Identity, Instrumental variables
JEL Classification: C33, C39, D72, D78, J1working papers series
Date posted: January 19, 2009
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