Welfare Works: Explaining Female Legislative Representation

36 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2008

See all articles by Frances McCall Rosenbluth

Frances McCall Rosenbluth

Yale University - Department of Political Science

Robert Salmond

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Michael F. Thies

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Political Science

Date Written: 2006

Abstract

This paper aims to advance our understanding of why women are underrepresented in legislatures around the world, and what accounts for the wide variation over time and across countries. Scholars generally agree on many of the favorable conditions for women to enter parliament, including, inter alia, proportional representation, leftism in government, and female employment. However, the mechanisms that link women's seat shares to the supposed explanatory factors are still poorly understood. In this paper, we argue that the key link resides in welfare state policies that (1) free women to enter the paid workforce, (2) provide public sector jobs that disproportionately employ women, and (3) change the political interest of working women enough to create an ideological gender gap. This, in turn, creates incentives for parties to compete for the female vote, and one way that they do so is to include more and more women in their parliamentary delegations.

Suggested Citation

Rosenbluth, Frances McCall and Salmond, Robert and Thies, Michael F., Welfare Works: Explaining Female Legislative Representation (2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1158637 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1158637

Frances McCall Rosenbluth

Yale University - Department of Political Science ( email )

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

Robert Salmond

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

Michael F. Thies (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Political Science ( email )

405 Hilgard Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1472
United States
310-825-1976 (Phone)
310-825-0778 (Fax)

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