Essays on the Gendered Origins and Implications of Social Policies in the Developing World

Suen Wang

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesis

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Abstract

Recent decades have seen a global rise in gender equality and social policy expansion. The expansion of social policy programs strengthens the commitment to gender equality. Sub-sequently, women are less constrained to traditional social roles and are encouraged to advance their careers in political and public life. These transformations have given rise to a substantial increase in women entering the political arena, which in turn has tremendous implications for social policymaking. This thesis examines the gendered origins and impli-cations of social policies, building on a framing paper and three papers using methods such as instrumental variables, difference-in-differences, logistic regressions with marginal effects, and panel threshold models. The thesis draws on novel primary and secondary datasets with regard to an autocracy, a new democracy, and 153 countries worldwide.
Each paper addresses a related puzzle in the literature and empirically tests the theo-retical framework it develops. The first paper investigates, on the micro level, the effect of China’s educational expansion as a social policy implementation on authoritarian support and patriarchal values. The findings suggest that significant transformation from patriarchal to more liberal gender values is not often coupled with a decline in the diffuse authoritarian support. The second paper turns to a new democracy and explores, on the meso level, the effect of a gender-equality policy—gender quotas—on social policy legislation based on quota implementation on one electoral tier in Taiwan’s mixed electoral system. Contrary to the conventional wisdom that women often represent women on issues closer to women’s interests, the findings show that although gender quotas influence quota women profoundly in initiating welfare and health issues, a related effect cannot be observed for non-quota women. The third paper, on the macro level, examines the origins of gender quotas and the implications of gender quotas on social policy spending using a global sample of countries. The findings indicate that as women’s political rights increase, international development assistance has an increasingly positive effect on quota implementation. Furthermore, the findings indicate that quota implementation and increased legislative presence of women are associated with an increase in health spending.
Taken together, by combining evidence from the micro to the macro level, this thesis investigates not only the implications of social policies on gender equality but also the implications of gender quotas—a gender-equality policy—on social policymaking. The thesis theoretically and empirically contributes to our understanding of how gender and social policies interplay.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
PublisherCopenhagen Business School [Phd]
Number of pages226
ISBN (Print)9788793956681
ISBN (Electronic)9788793956698
Publication statusPublished - 2020
SeriesPhD Series
Number29.2020
ISSN0906-6934

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