Female Labor Force Participation and Voter Turnout: Evidence from the American Presidential Elections

Richard J. Cebula, Gigi M. Alexander


This study investigates a state-level panel dataset for the five most recent U.S. Presidential elections, namely, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016, for which all data needed to reflect all of the variables in the model are available. While the general objective is to shed further insights into identifying factors that in a contemporary setting influence the aggregate voter participation rate in such elections, the emphasis is on the impact of the female labor force participation rate, which is hypothesized, ceteris paribus, to positively affect aggregate voter turnout. Several Cross Section Random Effects estimates are undertaken, each of which supports the hypothesis. Indeed, the semi-log estimate implies that a one unit (one percentage point) higher level for the female labor force participation rate in a state is associated with a 0.61% higher overall voter turnout in the state. Although the nation’s female labor force participation rate in the U.S. has effectively stabilized, there is considerable interstate variation in this variable; thus, candidates for elected office in states with higher female labor force participation rates and/or growing female labor force participation rates would be well advised to be sensitive to the needs of this demographic when campaigning.


female labor force participation; voter turnout; state-level/regional data; panel data analysis

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5202/rei.v8i2.234

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