Immigrant Ethnic Composition and the Adoption of Women's Suffrage in the United States
"Immigrant Ethnic Composition and the Adpoption of Women's Suffrage in the United States," in Public Choice Analyses of American Economic History, edited by Joshua Hall and Marcus Witcher, Chapter 8, pp. 167-178, with Wong, Crystal, and Hall, Joshua. August 13, 2018
Posted: 11 Dec 2018
Date Written: October 9, 2018
This paper seeks to understand the role played by immigrant ethnic composition in the process of women’s suffrage in the United States. Any theory of the extension of voting rights to women must explain why native men voted to extend the franchise to women. In this paper, we consider what we call the “ethnic group threat.” To the extent that native males believed that the political preferences of native women were better aligned with theirs than new (primarily male) immigrants, male voters would be willing to grant women voting rights to secure their social and political status.We use a hazard model and immigration data from 1870 to 1920 to investigate the impact of immigrant ethnic composition on women suffrage, we find that states with a higher proportion of immigrants from Italy, Eastern/Southern Europe, and Mexico gave women the the right to vote faster.
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