Friday, August 8, 2008

women's suffrage and child health

Are women more concerned than men about the wellbeing of children? If that is true--or if politicians perceive it to be true--then increasing female participation in politics could lead to more policies that benefit children. Grant Miller (Stanford) tests this hypothesis in a new paper in the Quarterly Journal of Economics. He finds evidence suggesting that giving women the right to vote led to higher child wellbeing. From the paper abstract:

...Suffrage rights for American women helped children to benefit from the scientific breakthroughs of the bacteriological revolution. ... Suffrage laws were followed by immediate shifts in legislative behavior and large, sudden increases in local public health spending. This growth in public health spending fueled large-scale door-to-door hygiene campaigns, and child mortality declined by 8–15% (or 20,000 annual child deaths nationwide)...
Read the article

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