Citations (6)



Gender Gaps in Policy Making: Evidence from Direct Democracy in Switzerland

Patricia Funk

Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Christina Gathmann

Alfred-Weber Institut; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

November 15, 2008

In spite of increasing representation of women in politics, little is known about their impact on policies. Comparing outcomes of parliaments with different shares of female members does not identify their causal impact because of possible differences in the underlying electorate. This paper uses a unique data set on voting decisions to sheds new light on gender gaps in policy making. Our analysis focuses on Switzerland, where all citizens can directly decide on a broad range of policies in referendums and initiatives. We show that there are large gender gaps in the areas of health, environmental protection, defense spending and welfare policy which typically persist even conditional on socio-economic characteristics. We also find that female policy makers have a substantial effect on the composition of public spending, but a small effect on the overall size of government.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 33

Keywords: Female Policy Makers, Political Gender Gaps, Switzerland

JEL Classification: H10, J16

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Date posted: April 7, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Funk, Patricia and Gathmann, Christina, Gender Gaps in Policy Making: Evidence from Direct Democracy in Switzerland (November 15, 2008). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1374228 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1374228

Contact Information

Patricia Funk (Contact Author)
Universitat Pompeu Fabra ( email )
Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, Barcelona 08005
+34 94 5421942 (Phone)
+34 93 5421746 (Fax)
Christina Gathmann
Alfred-Weber Institut ( email )
Bergheimer Str. 20
Heidelberg, 69115
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org/index_html?lang=en&mainframe=http%3A//www.iza.org/en/webcontent/personnel/photos%
CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )
Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
HOME PAGE: http://www.stanford.edu/~cgathman
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