Women’s Descriptive Representation and Gendered Import Tax Discrimination

Timm Betz, David Fortunato, Diana Z. O’Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

Abstract

We identify a form of gender-based governmental discrimination that directly affects billions of women on a daily basis: the setting of import tariffs for gendered goods. These tax rates, which can differ across otherwise identical gender-specific products, often impose direct penalties on women as consumers. Comparing nearly 200,000 paired tariff rates on men’s and women’s apparel products in 167 countries between 1995 and 2015, we find that women suffer a tax penalty that varies systematically across countries. We demonstrate that in democracies, women’s presence in the legislature is associated with decreased import tax penalties on women’s goods. This finding is buttressed by a comparison of democracies and non-democracies and analyses of the implementation of legislative gender quotas. Our work highlights a previously unacknowledged government policy that penalizes women and also provides powerful evidence that descriptive representation can have a substantial, direct impact on discriminatory policies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Political Science Review
Volume115
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)307-315
Number of pages9
ISSN0003-0554
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

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