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

22 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2009

See all articles by Antonio Ciccone

Antonio Ciccone

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Date Written: August 20, 2008

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Female Policy Makers, Political Gender Gaps, Switzerland

JEL Classification: H10, J16

Suggested Citation

Ciccone, Antonio, Gender Gaps in Policy Making: Evidence from Direct Democracy in Switzerland (August 20, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1374229 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1374229

Antonio Ciccone (Contact Author)

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27
Barcelona, 08005
Spain
+34 93 542 1669 (Phone)
+34 93 542 1746 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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