Politics and Progeny

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned Andrew Oswald’s finding that in the UK and Germany, daughters make their parents more likely to vote for left-wing parties. Now Ebonya Washington shows that US legislators with daughters are more likely to be left-wing on abortion issues.

Given that child gender is random, I’m guessing we’re about to see a spate of "sons & daughters" papers. Indeed, I myself have one in the pipeline….

And in related news, New Economist (currently vying with Brad DeLong for the title of most prolific econblogger on the planet) reports on a paper by Irma Clots-Figueras showing that in India, female legislators pursue policies that boost their consistuents’ educational attainment.

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3 Responses to Politics and Progeny

  1. Pingback: New Economist

  2. Mike Pepperday says:

    Thank you for those references.

    The general feeling is that women are more “caring” than men (though this is no doubt disputed by some) and that would presumably translate to a tendency to be politically left. These papers are some good evidence this is so.

    The different slants of explanation are interesting. With Oswald it is economics, with Washington it is female interests plus family influence, with Clots-Figueras it is an identification issue.

    If you have not seen it the following may be interesting:
    Edlund, L. and Pande, R. 2002 ‘Why have women become left wing? The political gender gap and the decline in marriage’, The Quarterly Journal of Economics: 917-961.

    It has another thesis – that relative poverty equates to voting left.

    Clots-Figueras talks about the debate in India to legislate for two thirds women in parliament. I don’t quite know how they would ensure that but it would be dead easy (conceptually) to have 50% each. Each elector would have two members. I don’t understand why the WEL doesn’t demand it. After all, in no other sport do we pit men directly against women.

  3. Andrew Leigh says:

    Mike, I really like Edlund & Pande’s paper. I even tested their theory on Australia (tentative support).

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