We offer a rationale for the decision to extend the franchise to women within a politico-economicmodel where men are richer than women, women display a higher preference for public goods, andwomen’s disenfranchisement carries a societal cost. Men and women are matched within householdswhich are the center of the decision process. We derive the optimal tax rate under two alternativeregimes: a males-only enfranchisement regime and a universal enfranchisement regime. The latteris associated with a higher tax rate but, as industrialization raises the reward to intellectual laborrelative to physical labor, women’s relative wage increases, thus decreasing the difference betweenthe tax rates. When the cost of disenfranchisement becomes higher than the cost of the higher taxrate which applies under universal enfranchisement, the male median voter is better off extendingthe franchise to women. A consequent expansion of the size of government is only to be expectedin societies with a relatively high cost of disenfranchisement.We empirically test the implications of the model over the 1870-1930 period. We proxy thegender wage gap with the level of per capita income and the cost of disenfranchisement withthe presence of Catholicism, which is associated with a more traditional view of women’s roleand thus a lower cost. The gender gap in the preferences for public goods is proxied by theavailability of divorce, which implies marital instability and a more vulnerable economic positionfor women. Consistently with the model’s predictions, women’s suffrage is correlated positivelywith per capita income and negatively with the presence of Catholicism and the availability ofdivorce, while women’s suffrage increases the size of government only in non-Catholic countries.

The Enfranchisement of Women and the Welfare State / Bertocchi, Graziella. - In: EUROPEAN ECONOMIC REVIEW. - ISSN 0014-2921. - STAMPA. - 55:(2011), pp. 535-553. [10.1016/j.euroecorev.2010.07.003]

The Enfranchisement of Women and the Welfare State

BERTOCCHI, Graziella
2011

Abstract

We offer a rationale for the decision to extend the franchise to women within a politico-economicmodel where men are richer than women, women display a higher preference for public goods, andwomen’s disenfranchisement carries a societal cost. Men and women are matched within householdswhich are the center of the decision process. We derive the optimal tax rate under two alternativeregimes: a males-only enfranchisement regime and a universal enfranchisement regime. The latteris associated with a higher tax rate but, as industrialization raises the reward to intellectual laborrelative to physical labor, women’s relative wage increases, thus decreasing the difference betweenthe tax rates. When the cost of disenfranchisement becomes higher than the cost of the higher taxrate which applies under universal enfranchisement, the male median voter is better off extendingthe franchise to women. A consequent expansion of the size of government is only to be expectedin societies with a relatively high cost of disenfranchisement.We empirically test the implications of the model over the 1870-1930 period. We proxy thegender wage gap with the level of per capita income and the cost of disenfranchisement withthe presence of Catholicism, which is associated with a more traditional view of women’s roleand thus a lower cost. The gender gap in the preferences for public goods is proxied by theavailability of divorce, which implies marital instability and a more vulnerable economic positionfor women. Consistently with the model’s predictions, women’s suffrage is correlated positivelywith per capita income and negatively with the presence of Catholicism and the availability ofdivorce, while women’s suffrage increases the size of government only in non-Catholic countries.
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The Enfranchisement of Women and the Welfare State / Bertocchi, Graziella. - In: EUROPEAN ECONOMIC REVIEW. - ISSN 0014-2921. - STAMPA. - 55:(2011), pp. 535-553. [10.1016/j.euroecorev.2010.07.003]
Bertocchi, Graziella
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11380/644608
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