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First women at the polls: examination of women’s early voting behaviour

Morgan-Collins, Mona (2016) First women at the polls: examination of women’s early voting behaviour. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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My dissertation research provides first systematic analysis of women’s early voting behavior. The key contribution of this thesis is that women’s suffrage made a significant dent into electoral politics. Such finding provides a direct contradiction to the so frequent claim that women voted as their husbands for most of the twentieth century. The thesis consists of three separate chapters, each addressing a distinct puzzle in the literature. In the first paper, I argue that, contrary to most of the extant literature, women contributed to the victory of the Republican Party in the 1920 election outside of the Black Belt. In the second paper, I argue that women in Protestant countries supported parties that appealed to their welfare and suffrage preferences in the first election after the vote was won. In the third paper, I argue that the redistributive effects of women’s suffrage were mediated by women’s support for parties with redistributive agendas. The key argument of this thesis is that women tended to vote on their redistributive preferences. Contrary to the conventional wisdom that women supported conservative parties, I find robust evidence that women’s suffrage mostly benefitted parties with redistributive agendas. While my research does not seek to challenge the notion that women held socially conservative preferences, it directly contradicts the notion that women voted on such preferences for conservative parties. In the Catholic South, women’s support for Christian Democratic parties most likely reflected women’s preference for Christian Democratic type of the welfare state, which emphasized family values. In the Protestant North, women supported Socialist parties for their welfare preferences, particularly once they entered the workforce. But even at the time of suffrage, women were mainly attracted to parties on the left, responding to both their welfare and suffrage appeals to women.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2016 Mona Morgan-Collins
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Sets: Departments > Government
Supervisor: Dewan, Torun

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