What do women want? Female suffrage and the size of government

Claudio Bravo-Ortega, Nicolas A. Eterovic, Valentina Paredes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The economic literature has attributed part of the increase in government expenditure over the 20th century to female voting. This is puzzling, considering that the political science literature has documented that women tended to be more conservative than men over the first half of the 20th century. We argue that the current estimates of this relationship are afflicted by endogeneity bias. Using data for 46 countries and a novel set of instruments related to the diffusion of female suffrage across the globe, we find that, on average, the introduction of female suffrage did not increase either social expenditures or total government expenditure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-150
Number of pages19
JournalEconomic Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Female suffrage
  • Government size
  • Voting rights


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