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IFS/STICERD/UCL Development Work in Progress Seminar

Votes for Women: What drives male support?

Cecilia Garcia Penalosa (Aix-Marseille University and University College London), joint with Björn Brey

Thursday 19 May 2022 13:00 - 14:00

Many of our seminars and public events this year will continue as in person or as hybrid (online and in person) events. Please check our website listings and Twitter feed @STICERD_LSE for updates.

Unless otherwise specified, in-person seminars are open to the public.

Those unable to join the seminars in-person are welcome to participate via zoom if the event is hybrid.

About this event

One of the most fundamental aspects of female empowerment is the right to vote, and a considerable literature has examined the impact of female suffrage on the size of government and the share of social spending, both of which are crucial for economic development. Economists have paid little attention to why some countries allowed women to vote much earlier than others despite the fact that these changes have spanned over more than a century. This paper examines the factors behind the introduction of female suffrage in Switzerland, the last high-income country to do so. Women were able to vote at the federal level only after a referendum in 1971 approved universal suffrage, with local cantonal voting rights having been introduced earlier in some cantons. Using data at the cantonal level from the (unsuccessful) 1959 and the (successful) 1971 referenda, we explore the factors that can explain why men support allowing women to vote. We explore two hypotheses. The first is that technological change was a driver of support for women’s rights; the second considers the possibility that limited changes in women’s rights affect perceptions and social norms, leading to greater support for female suffrage.

This seminar series is jointly organized by the IFS, STICERD, and UCL.

IFS/STICERD/UCL Development Economics Work In Progress seminars are held on Thursdays in term time at 13:00-14:00, at the IFS, unless specified otherwise.

Seminar organisers: Oriana Bandiera (STICERD, LSE), Imran Rasul (UCL), Britta Augsburg (IFS) and Jonathan Weigel (LSE).

For further information please contact Britta Augsburg:

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