Gender Preferences for Redistributive Policies: Evidence from State Eitcs
Posted: 22 Feb 2011 Last revised: 5 May 2011
Public policy evaluation often assumes that policy outcomes are random and unrelated to underlying political conditions in the state. Political science theory, however, provides reasons to believe that the socio-demographic characteristics of legislators and other political leaders may influence policy choices. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is framed as a popular and bipartisan redistributive policy at the national level. Little research has been conducted on state-level EITCs, despite their adoption by approximately half of U.S. states. This paper uses a unique panel dataset spanning 32 years and 49 states to determine the relationship between female representation in state legislatures and the governorship and the generosity of state EITCs. A state and year fixed-effects model was estimated. Our preliminary results imply a complicated story across gender and party lines. Although female governors are associated with less generous EITCs, greater female representation in the state legislature appears to increase generosity. Interestingly, female Democratic governors are no more likely to increase the EITC’s generosity than their male Republican counterparts. Together, our results indicate that the policy’s bipartisan support at the federal level exists at the state-level as well.
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