A step behind

I was considering this topic for my next book, but John Lott has already done a fair amount of the work:

There’s been a puzzle that’s been around academics for decades about why government started to grow when it did. From the beginning of the country to the 1920s, the federal government had been about 2 to 3 percent of GNP. You’d have a war sometimes and it would go up. After the war was over, government would go back down to where had been previously. But it began to grow through the 20s and the 30s and 40s.

You see a phenomenon that’s true around the world, during about 50 years of time in which government began to grow. I’ve noticed from looking around at these countries that the government growth seemed to coincide with when women were given the right to vote in these places….

The effect is dramatic. If you look at 10 years prior to when a state gives women the right to vote, you find expenditures and revenues were flat. Once women were given the right to vote, the next year you see an increase in government expenditures. It keeps going up dramatically. In 10 years, government expenditures and revenue doubled in real terms. That growth follows closely with the percent of voters who were women.

I don’t know if Lott has actually looked at the European statistics, but it’s definitely also true there, even in the countries where women didn’t vote parties like the National Socialists into power at the first opportunity.


Liesl: Oh, do you see Gertrude! Vee must wote for zis party, zey love zee children.

Gertrude: But how are zey on crime? I don’t feel so wery safe zese days.

Liesl: Zey hate it, you see? Und zat’s not all, zey vill even pay for the cost of zee children to go to zee schools!

Gertrude: Vunderbar! And zey have so wery handsome uniforms too! Do you sink zey vill let us vear zee pretty red armbands if vee wolunteer?

It’s no accident that women’s suffrage is the very first plank in the Manifesto of the Fascist Struggle.