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Women’s preferences for social spending: theory and evidence from Spanish political representatives

Ascension Andina-Diaz (), Paula Penalva-Planelles () and M. Socorro Puy ()
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M. Socorro Puy: Department of Economics, University of Málaga

No 2019-02, Working Papers from Universidad de Málaga, Department of Economic Theory, Málaga Economic Theory Research Center

Abstract: This paper analyzes how the preferences of political representatives for social spending differ across gender groups, and what the effects of gender differences are for the equilibrium policies. We use a unique survey data from the CIS in Spain, comprising a sample of 350 male and 230 female political representatives of national chambers (Congress and Senate) and regional parliaments. Our findings suggest that, in general, female representatives have a stronger preference for social spending than male representatives. Interestingly, these gender differences arise within members of the right-wing party (of PP), whereas left-wing representatives (of PSOE) males and females, are more homogenous. In a comparison between national versus regional representatives, we find that within representatives of national chambers, women over men show on average, an additional probability of 25 percent points of self-reporting preferences for additional spending in education and pensions. However, within representative members of regional parliaments, gender differences in preferences are not statistically significant. We also provide a theoretical model, which serves us to understand the effects of gender party composition on the equilibrium policies. Our model reveals that gender quotas benefit right-wing parties. Intuitively, women provide moderation to rightist parties, which in turn produces electoral advantage.

Keywords: Gender differences; preferences for social spending; gender quotas; Downsian electoral competition (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 H75 J16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 27 pages
Date: 2019-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-gen and nep-pol
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