Page 63

WOMEN’S REPRESENTATION AND POLICY INNOVATION

Table 3 provides means, minima, and maxima for all variables in the system of simultaneous equations in Box 1. The unit of analysis is the state, resulting in 50 total observations for 2013. On average, states earned a C on policies to support women and families (mean State Policy Grade ≈ 2.0). The Average of Neighboring States’ Grades is calculated from these numeric values and for each state is equal to the average of all bordering states’ grades. The Average of Similar States’ Grades is calculated from CAP State Policy Grades and states are divided by 2012 presidential election results. Blue states earn B grades (3.05) on average and red states earn D- grades (0.83). Average Gender Parity Index denotes women’s underrepresentation at 18.32, with a minimum of 4.5 (Virginia) and maximum of 47.4 (New Hampshire). Elazar’s (1984) state culture variable measures state culture from 1 to 9, with higher scores indicating a more conservative state culture and lower scores indicating a more liberal one. Women’s 2013 representation in state legislatures ranges from 11.8 percent (Louisiana) to 41 percent (Colorado), and women’s voter turnout ranges from 40.9 percent (Texas) to 64.8 percent (Wisconsin). A series of dichotomous variables is used to indicate whether the state has term limits, multi member districts, a women’s legislative caucus, a professionalized, full-time legislature, as well as measures of partisan control in the legislative and executive branches. Nineteen states had unified Democratic majorities in 2013, power was divided between the executive and legislative branches in 12 states, and 19 states had unified Republican majorities. In 15 states, legislators have at least partial term limits, 10 states have multiple-member districts, and 40 states have women’s legislative caucuses or commissions. In 2013, five states had female governors, and 10 governors had line-item veto power. About half of all state legislatures are a mix of full-time and part-time legislators and staff—Hybrid Legislatures—with fully one-third of all state legislatures as part-time citizen legislatures. Finally, a series of measures gauge external factors—state economic conditions—in 2013, including unemployment, women’s labor force participation rate, and poverty rates. The average unemployment rate was 6.73, ranging from 2.9 percent (North Dakota) to 9.6 percent (Nevada). Women’s labor force participation rates in 2013 were as low as 46.2 percent in West Virginia and as high as 63.6 percent in North Dakota. On average, about 15 percent of state populations are living below the poverty level in 2013, which matches national averages, with as few as 8.7 percent in New Hampshire and nearly a quarter in Mississippi. With respect to demographics, about 14 percent of the population is over 65, about 10 percent of state populations are African American, and more than half live in urban areas. Table 3: Descriptive Statistics (n=50)

50

Variable

Data Source

Policy Grade 2013

Chu & Posner, 2013

1.98

Mean

0

Min.

4.0

Max.

Gender Parity Index 2014

CAWP 2015

18.32

4.5

47.4

Average of Neighboring States’ Grades

Calculated from

1.83

0

3.42

Avg. Grade of Red/Blue States (2012)

Chu & Posner, 2013

1.98

0.83

3.05

State Culture

Elazar 1984; Mead 2004

4.94

1

9

Percent Female Legislators

NCSL 2013

24.04

11.8

41

Sharon Mastracci

Women’s Voter Turnout 2012

IWPR 2012

53.27

40.9

64.8

Democratic Majority in Legislature

NCSL 2013

0.38

0

1

Divided Control (Executive/Legislative)

NCSL 2013

0.24

0

1

Term Limits for Legislators

NCSL 2013

0.30

0

1

Multi-Member Districts

NCSL 2013

0.20

0

1

Women’s Legislative Caucus

NCSL 2013

0.80

0

1

Female Governor

CAWP

0.10

0

1

Governor has Line-Item Veto

CSG 2010

0.20

0

1

BLS

6.73

2.9

9.6

Bureau of the Census Bureau of the Census Bureau of the Census

55.02 59.88 14.69

46.2 17.38 8.7

63.6 92.24 22.7

Bureau of the Census Bureau of the Census

14.41 10.34

8.9 0.40

18.6 37.2

0.06

0

1

0.14 0.48 0.20 0.12

0 0 0 0

1 1 1 1

State Economic Statistics 2013 State Unemployment Rate Women’s LFPR Percent Urbanized Percent below Poverty Line Percent over Age 65 Percent African American Professionalized Legislature 2013 Full-time, well-paid large staff Full-time “lite” Hybrid Part-time “lite” Part-time, low pay, small staff

NCSL

In the next section, results of maximum likelihood estimation are discussed in light of the mean values above. Results show that increasing women’s representation at the local, state, or national level improves policy outcomes for women and families, even when controlling for state economic conditions, demographics, policy diffusion from neighboring and politically-similar states, and resources available to women lawmakers in a state, including legislative professionalization, the presence of women’s caucuses, and unified Democratic Party control. Results of Maximum Likelihood Estimation Following Berry and Berry (2014), the model includes both internal/ motivation and resource factors and external/diffusion factors. Following Caiazza (2004), the effects of factors on women’s representation and the effects of representation on policy adoption are estimated using instrumental variables in a system of simultaneous equations (see Box 1). Following Schwindt-Bayer and Mishler (2005), these effects are found using limited-information maximum-likelihood estimation. Table 4 shows the results of maximum-likelihood estimation. The model performs very well considering the number of observations, explaining fully 78 percent of the variation in State Policy Grade. A check of the residuals reveals the mean at zero, standard deviation equal to 0.65, and minimum and maximum values within /2.0/, indicating an absence of outliers. Leading factors affecting State Policy Grades include women’s representation in elective office, professionalized state legislatures, and unified Democratic Party control, consistent with findings from previous research (see especially Heidbreder &

Profile for mlusty

Hinckley Journal 2017  

The Hinckley Journal of Politics is the only undergraduate-run journal of politics in the nation and strives to publish scholarly papers of...

Hinckley Journal 2017  

The Hinckley Journal of Politics is the only undergraduate-run journal of politics in the nation and strives to publish scholarly papers of...

Advertisement