Direct Democracy and the Mobilization of Women Voters”
In this paper we seek to study whether the initiative process has a different influence on political participation and engagement among men and women. This question is motivated by previous work in which we find that the 24 American states with some form of the initiative process consistently elect about 3% more women to their legislatures than noninitiative states. In that paper, we argue that there are four possible mechanisms related to direct democracy that could lead to this increase in womenﾒs descriptive representation. Here, we plan to focus on one of these four mechanisms by drawing on the finding that states with the initiative process, particularly those with greater initiative use, witness increased rates of turnout. Specifically, the initiative process could influence the election of women candidates if it brings voters more disposed to vote for women to the polls. We focus initially on differences in turnout by gender, since previous work has shown that women voters are more likely to have a baseline preference to vote for women. We plan to test our hypothesis using a number of data sets, including the ANES, GSS, and CPS, and supplement them with information on the initiative process and the frequency of initiative use. Preliminary tabular analysis using the GSS data offers some initial support for this approach, as we find that the initiative process has a greater effect on turnout rates among women, producing an increase of 3.3% as opposed to 2.4% for men.
Frederick Boehmke, Tracy L. Osborn, and Alicia Mundy. "Direct Democracy and the Mobilization of Women Voters”" Western Political Science Association,. San Francisco CA. Apr. 2010.
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