The Comparative Politics of Gender

27 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2008

See all articles by Frances McCall Rosenbluth

Frances McCall Rosenbluth

Yale University - Department of Political Science


This paper supplements the usual economic and sociological explanations of women's economic status with an exploration of the effects of partisan and electoral variables. Using OECD-wide data, as well as on the basis of a more careful look at four very different countries, we find that women piggyback on the strength of organized labor for achieving relative hourly wage equality. Proportional electoral systems are more likely to give labor a strong political voice than are plurality systems, and are therefore more likely to compress the wage structure in a way that brings up the bottom quartile, where working women disproportionately are. A more complete look at the constraints on women's choices, using fertility as an indicator, suggests that strong labor unions may make it difficult for outsiders - including women - to break into the work force on an equal basis.

Suggested Citation

Rosenbluth, Frances McCall, The Comparative Politics of Gender. Available at SSRN: or

Frances McCall Rosenbluth (Contact Author)

Yale University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, DC 06520-8269
United States
203-432-5256 (Phone)

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