The Political Economy of Gender: Explaining Cross-National Variation in Household Bargaining, Divorce, and the Gender Voting Gap
37 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2008
Date Written: August 2003
Mainstream political economy has tended to treat the family as a unit when examining the distributional consequences of labor market institutions and of public policy. In a world with high divorce rates, we argue that this simplification is more likely to obscure than to instruct. We find that labor market opportunities for women affect women's bargaining power within the family and as a result, can explain much of the cross country variation in the household division of labor, patterns of divorce, and political preferences.
This paper was prepared for presentation at the Annual Meetings of the American Political Science Association, August 28-31, 2003, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The authors are grateful to Joseph Altonji, Robert Pollak, and Justin Wolfers for helpful comments and information, and to Nirmala Ravishankar and Alastair Hamilton for able research assistance.
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