Unmarried Parenthood and Redistributive Politics

45 Pages Posted: 11 Aug 2004

See all articles by Lena Edlund

Lena Edlund

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics

Laila Haider

Columbia University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics

Rohini Pande

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: July 2004

Abstract

Political survey data for nine West European countries show that women have become increasingly left-wing compared to men, and that this trend is positively correlated with the decline in marriage in these countries. This pattern is mirrored in German longitudinal data (GSOEP), where transitions out of marriage make women, but not men, significantly more left-leaning. Analysis of public spending data for high-income OECD countries (1980-1998) suggests that the political impact of non-marriage extends to the allocation of State resources. We find that the relationship between the decline in marriage and public spending on children is U-shaped, that is, declines in marriage first reduce and then increase such spending. This finding both supports the hypothesis that the decline in marriage lies behind the political gender gap and highlights the salience of popular support, rather than need, in determining public spending.

Keywords: Political gender gap, out-of-wedlock fertility, divorce, marriage age, public social spending

JEL Classification: H31, H42, J12, J13

Suggested Citation

Edlund, Lena and Haider, Laila and Pande, Rohini, Unmarried Parenthood and Redistributive Politics (July 2004). CEPR Discussion Paper No. 4478. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=575021

Lena Edlund (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics ( email )

420 W. 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-5489 (Phone)
212-854-8059 (Fax)

Laila Haider

Columbia University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics ( email )

420 W. 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-2062 (Phone)
212-854-8059 (Fax)

Rohini Pande

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-384-5267 (Phone)
617-495-2575 (Fax)

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