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Men are From Mars, Women Are From Sweden

Tyler Cowen discusses the contributions of feminist economics:

Gender differences in analyzing the effects of policy. Sweden, no matter what you think of it in absolute terms, is a better deal for women than for men. Overall women are more risk-averse and less interested in accumulating large sums of wealth. The Soviet Union was less bad for women than for men. Many governmental health care systems are better geared toward the needs of women (e.g., easy access to pre-natal care) than for men, who require massive medical innovation to fix their heart attacks. And so on. These points don’t receive enough attention.

I think this always gets less attention than it should when people set about to talk about voting behavior. The “gender gap” in US politics tends to be treated as either driven by stylistic attribubes (Republicans nominate manly men) or else by “women’s issues” construed in a very narrow way (abortion, sex discrimination law). It’s worth noting that this sort of gender gap — women vote further left than men — seems to be pretty universal across advanced democracies and appears to me to be tied to very broad issues. I doubt anyone thinks of this explicitly “as a woman, I both face more objective exposure to risk and a higher level of risk aversion, therefore, I’ll back the Democrats” but I think it’s almost certainly an important driver of voting behavior anyway.

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