Gender Inequality, Taxation and Institutions: a Historical Perspective

Monica Bozzano (University of Pavia)
Paola Profeta (Bocconi University)
Simona Scabrosetti (University of Pavia)

Abstract: Drawing from different, but interlinked strands of the literature, which investigate the political economy of taxation, the impact of women’s enfranchisement on the size and composition of government and the lasting effect of distant history on female outcomes, this study focuses on the interactions between gender inequality, tax structure, and institutions both across time and space. In particular, the paper aims at empirically exploring the historical roots and institutional determinants of the emergence of different gender biases in tax rules and regimes across countries, focusing among others on the role played by the legacy of the timing of women’s enfranchisement, family types and values, and patriarchal norms. Preliminary results show that the timing of women’s enfranchisement and the degree of historical status of women in the family are significantly related to the structure of the taxation systems of different countries at the world level. In particular the share of direct taxes is higher in those countries where the suffrage were extended to women earlier and women historically play a more relevant role within the family.