Democratic Party Control Reduces Gender Inequality
Legislative Studies Quarterly
37 Pages Posted:
Date Written: September 25, 2020
Women earn less than men who work in the same job with the same level of experience. We know much about this gender wage gap but relatively little about its political or partisan sources. In this article, we examine the effects of party control of state government on gender inequality in income, wages, unemployment, and poverty. Employing both a regression discontinuity design and a dynamic difference-in-difference analysis, we find that electing a Democratic majority to the state house leads to substantial improvement in women’s incomes, wages, and unemployment relative to men – especially in recent years. We also show that greater female representation in office and more liberal policymaking on policies related to women’s rights could be driving that process. We find, however, fewer clear effects on poverty and less robust results for partisan control of the governor’s office or the state senate. Parties and politics matter, but not always.
Keywords: gender, inequality, state government, party control, representation
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