The Politics of Redistribution in Local Governments: The Effect of Gender Representation on Welfare Spending in California Counties

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This research explores the impact of gender representation at the state and local levels on redistributive choices. This research also examines whether female officeholders moderate the impact of the local economy and institution on welfare spending. Hypotheses are tested across 58 counties in California over ten years, between 2001 and 2010. According to the fixed effect models, women in state legislature had a positive effect on local welfare spending, while women on county boards had no significant effect. However, a positive moderating effect of women on county boards during economic hardship was found. Three categories of control variables include institutional factors, such as the introduction of Proposition 1A and county home rule; political factors, such as the political preference of each county’s residents and strength of non-profit organisations; and socio-economic factors, such as intergovernmental revenue, unemployment rate and demographics. Counties with more intergovernmental revenue and supporters of Democratic presidential candidates are likely to spend more on welfare services.

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