Do Women Legislators Have a Politive Effect on the Supportiveness of States Toward Older Citizens?
33 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2010 Last revised: 13 Apr 2010
Date Written: April 3, 2010
We examine whether increasing the presence of women in state legislatures improves state elderly friendliness. A number of studies have found that the presence of women is associated with broadly kinder, gentler legislative initiatives toward various aspects of social and educational policies. As the baby-boom generation has begun to enter retirement, states face growing demands for social orientations and public policies responsive to the varying needs of older citizens in different circumstances. We draw on a cross-section of the American states around the year 2000 in conjunction with regression to see whether states with more extensive legislative representation of women meet the growing challenges of an aging population more effectively. We find that, controlling for the most prominent alternative factors generally shaping state orientations and policies, the duration of a significant presence (i.e., greater than 20 percent) of women legislators has by far the most powerful positive influence on the three relevant dimensions of state elderly friendliness that we include in this study.
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