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The Political Economy of the Service Transition$
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Anne Wren

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199657285

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199657285.001.0001

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The Political Economy of Gender in Service Sector Economies

The Political Economy of Gender in Service Sector Economies

(p.306) 10 The Political Economy of Gender in Service Sector Economies
The Political Economy of the Service Transition

Torben Iversen

Frances Rosenbluth

Oxford University Press

The service sector is beginning to transform the political landscape by giving working women a new and distinct set of preferences over policy. The growth of services has increased the demand for female labor in tandem with the disappearance of the “brawn premium” in the workplace. But until social norms about caregiving create a more equal burden for family work, women are more likely to work the “second shift” at home, reducing their leisure time and their satisfaction with levels of public services for children and the elderly. A striking result of the growth of the service sector, therefore, illustrated in this chapter, is a gender voting gap in which women are more likely to support parties and platforms that pledge an increase in government spending on education and social services. Ironically, the gender voting gap tends to be larger in countries with greater gender equality, however measured, because the gap tracks female labor force participation. How parties respond to the new configuration of women’s political preferences depends on how electoral rules aggregate interests and on other factors, but the gender voting gap is here to stay unless and until societies share family burdens more equally.

Keywords:   gender voting gap, political preferences, labor force participation, female participation, service economy, policy preferences, partisanship

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