What Women Want: Suffrage, Gender Gaps in Voter Preferences and Government Expenditures
51 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2006
Date Written: July 2006
This paper combines unique individual-level information on ballot votes with state-level data on expenditures to provide new evidence on how women suffrage has affected government spending. Using data from the last country in Europe to adopt suffrage, Switzerland, we demonstrate two main results. First, women suffrage has changed the scope of government much more than its size. Women are more likely to support expenditures for public goods like environment and public transport, but oppose defense spending and subsidies for agriculture. Second, the political gender gap has shifted over time. While women were equally likely than men to support publicly provided health and welfare services shortly after suffrage adoption, their demand for these services has increased over the past two decades. We calculate that ten years after women suffrage, total expenditures are around 7 percent lower than prior to adoption, while welfare expenditures are 10 percent higher.
Keywords: Women Suffrage, Fiscal Policy, Voter Preferences, Switzerland
JEL Classification: H10, H50, J16, K00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation