Women Leaving the Playpen: The Emancipating Role of Female Suffrage

49 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2018

See all articles by Michaela Slotwinski

Michaela Slotwinski

Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Basel; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Alois Stutzer

University of Basel - Faculty of Business and Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: May 02, 2018

Abstract

The role of women in Western societies changed dramatically in the 20th century. We study how political empowerment affected women’s emancipation as reflected in their life choices like marital decisions and labor market participation. The staggered introduction of female suffrage in Swiss states allows us to exploit the variation in the age women experienced enfranchisement to estimate the differences in life choices between women who were socialized in a world where women had a formal say in politics and those who were mainly socialized before. Our empirical findings document that political empowerment strongly increased female labor force participation, weakened marital bonds and motivated human capital investment. Moreover, being socialized with female suffrage increased long-term voting participation and perceptions of control. Our evidence suggests that changes in formal political institutions hold the power to change norms.

Keywords: female suffrage, voting rights, institutions, norms, female labor force participation, marital choices, voting participation, efficacy

JEL Classification: D020, D720, J120, J160, J220, J240, Z130

Suggested Citation

Slotwinski, Michaela and Stutzer, Alois, Women Leaving the Playpen: The Emancipating Role of Female Suffrage (May 02, 2018). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 7002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3198182

Michaela Slotwinski (Contact Author)

Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Basel ( email )

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Alois Stutzer

University of Basel - Faculty of Business and Economics ( email )

Peter Merian-Weg 6
4002 Basel
Switzerland
0041 61 267 3361 (Phone)
0041 61 267 3340 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.wwz.unibas.ch/stutzer/

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

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