Electoral Systems and the Gender-Based Economic Participation and Opportunity Gap
Pinate, Rachel Amanda
Wise, Andrew S.
This thesis examines the relationship between electoral systems and gender-based inequality. Using the World Bank’s Economic Participation and Opportunity Subindex – a composite measure of wage equality, the labor force participation female-male ratio, the earned income female-male ratio, the female-male ratio of particular positions of power, and the female-male ratio of professional and technical workers – to represent this inequality, and using election policy information from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), I test whether plurality/majority systems are worse for economic gender parity than are proportional representation systems. With rigorous OLS regression analysis, I find unexpectedly that Majority/Plurality electoral systems (such as First Past the Post) have a statistically significant positive relationship with the economic achievement gap, indicating greater equality under these election systems, whereas Proportional Representation systems (such as List PR) are negatively associated with the economic achievement gap. These findings, combined with related research and literature, indicate that the manner by which legislatures are elected has an impact on women’s prospect for economic equality.
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