STOREP is pleased to announce that the 2020 STOREP grant of 3,000€ for innovative small-scale research projects is awarded to
Ipek Ilkkaracan and Izaskun Zuazu
The Macroeconomic Underpinnings of Gender Gaps in Political Ideology
The project aims at investigating the macroeconomic determinants of gender gaps in political ideology, contributing to the literature on voting preferences.
The methodology follows an interdisciplinary approach. Theoretically, it accounts for the interactions between economic and political gender inequalities, grounding on institutional and feminist economics.
Empirically, the project estimates the causal effect of individual labour market status and regional-level macroeconomic indicators in political ideology of both women and men in Spain. The activities of the project involve also the definition of a new dataset with information on more than five hundred thousands individuals from 17 Spanish regions during 1993-2019 (CIS Spanish Barometer) and link this data with regional-level macroeconomic indicators. It could be replicated in other countries.
The project is well argued, accurate in references to literature and rigorous from a theoretical and empirical point of view. It deals with a topic of extreme interest in the field of the interdisciplinary/gender approach to economics with innovative methodology, in a clear and effective way, thereby making a valuable contribution to the extant literature. The proponents also clearly detailed how the grant will be used.
We remind STOREP members that submitted proposals have been scrutinized on their quality and relevance by a selection committee composed of three members nominated by the Executive Committee, avoiding any conflict of interest.
Awards recipients committed themselves to publicly illustrate the results of their research by presenting a full paper in the coming STOREP Conference or in the one after that, and to submit it for publication in the STOREPapers Series.
This research project studies theoretically and empirically the labour market determinants of gender gaps in political ideology. Specifically, we analyse the role of female labour force participation and the individual labour market status in gender disparities in political ideology. Political ideology gender disparities have crucial political and economic consequences: they are found to influence the practice of politics and electoral strategies (Box-Steffensmeier et al., 2004) and to unleash decisive impacts on public policy outcomes, such as social spending as a percentage of GDP (Iversen et al., 2005). Our project aims at advancing the scientific knowledge of the individual-level and macro-level economic underpinnings of gendered polarization of political preferences.
The developmental theory in Inglehart and Norris (2000) suggests that long-term structural and cultural trends, which have transformed gender roles in the society, have also gradually produced major shifts in gender politics. Gender differences in voting behaviour have shifted from a traditional gap, where women lean right relative to men, towards a modern gap, where women have more left-wing preferences, in contemporary post-industrial societies. Gender political differences started transforming into a modern gap in 1980 coinciding with the changing role of women in the labour market in the developed economies of the North. Existing research shows cross-country differences in such transformation, where Spain, Italy and Luxembourg lagged behind in evolving modern gender gaps in political ideology (Giger, 2009; Abendschön and Steinmetz, 2014), along with persisting low levels of female labour force participation.
Existing literature is still inconclusive on the causal determinants of shifts in gender disparities in political ideology (Giger, 2009). Existing works show conflicting results mainly due to different selection of countries (Abendschön and Steinmetz, 2014), incongruence in data aggregation and the impossibility of accurate comparability. In contrast, country-specific analysis of significant gender gaps could identify further political, economic and social contextual factors for explaining differences at individual level, as it has been already done in Barisione (2014) for Italy and Basu and Donnelly (2017) for the UK. In this vein, a country-level study for Turkey (Ilkkaracan, 2019) uses a unique database on political voting preferences to explore the causal links between womens exclusion from the labour market and their support for rising political Islam in the 2000’s; the study presents robust evidence on that women’s political voting preferences are sharply polarized around their labour market status.
Inspired by the previous works on Turkey and Italy (Barisione, 2014; Ilkkaracan, 2019), this research project aims to contribute to existing literature by conducting another country-specific analysis, this time in the context of Spain. We expect that an in-depth country-level study will shed light on bridging these gaps in existing political economy literature on gender gaps in voting behaviour. Different from the hitherto existing research, we propose to analyse not only the individual labour market status determinants of political ideological gender disparities but also the macroeconomic drivers. Spain constitutes an excellent context for such a case study, because of the unparalleled changes in women’s labour force participation from extremely low levels (amongst the lowest in the European context up until the 1980’s) to very high levels through the 1990’s instigated through robust economic growth upon becoming a member of the EU. This economic transformation was also mirrored in a drastic change in the political context from a dictatorship to a flourishing democracy.
The research project aims to explore the complex mutual feedback effects between these gendered economic and political processes.
Abendschön, S. and Steinmetz, S. (2014). The gender gap in voting revisited: Women’s party preferences in a european context. Social Politics, 21(2):315–344.
Barisione, M. (2014). Debunking the myth of a traditional gender gap in the electoral support for Silvio Berlusconi in italy (1994–2013). Electoral Studies, 36:117–128.
Basu, C. and Donnelly, C. P. (2017). Female employment and the gender voting gap. In 2017 Women in Society in Historical Perspective workshop, pages 1–27.
Box-Steffensmeier, J. M., De Boef, S., and Lin, T.-M. (2004). The dynamics of the partisan gender gap. American Political Science Review, 98(3):515–528.
Giger, N. (2009). Towards a modern gender gap in Europe? A comparative analysis of voting behavior in 12 countries. The Social Science Journal, 46(3):474–492.
Ilkkaracan, I. (2019). Economic and political gender gaps and the rise of populism. Journal of International Affairs, 72(2):191–208.
Inglehart, R. and Norris, P. (2000). The developmental theory of the gender gap: Womens and mens voting behavior in global perspective. International Political Science Review, 21(4):441–463.
Iversen, T., Rosenbluth, F., and Soskice, D. (2005). Divorce and the gender division of labor in comparative perspective. Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society, 12(2):216–242.
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