Gender and Tax

USC Law School, Olin Working Paper No. 99-11

25 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 1999

See all articles by R. Michael Alvarez

R. Michael Alvarez

California Institute of Technology

Edward J. McCaffery

USC Gould School of Law

Date Written: August 1999


It is well known that there is a gender gap in American politics: that men and women in the aggregate vote differently for presidential candidates, for example. The precise determinants of the gap are less well known. Using existing data, mainly 1996 general election exit polls, this article explores the gender gap in relation to tax issues. It finds that while men and women have broadly similar attitudes or "primary preferences" about tax questions, the weighing of tax as an issue -- the "secondary preferences" -- differ, with men attaching more importance to tax as an issue than women. This result suggests, inter alia, that framing of political issues matter, and that a successful candidate may appeal differentially to each gender on the basis of different policy issues.

Suggested Citation

Alvarez, R. Michael and McCaffery, Edward J., Gender and Tax (August 1999). USC Law School, Olin Working Paper No. 99-11. Available at SSRN: or

R. Michael Alvarez

California Institute of Technology ( email )

Department of Humanities and Social Science M/C 228-77
Pasadena, CA 91125
United States
626-395-4422 (Phone)

Edward J. McCaffery (Contact Author)

USC Gould School of Law ( email )

699 Exposition Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
213-740-2567 (Phone)
213-740-5502 (Fax)

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