Legislatures worldwide are dominated by wealthy elites, who are often out of touch with the needs and problems of ordinary citizens. Research shows that the underrepresentation of the working class in terms of policy processes and outcomes. Yet, the research has largely focused on blue-collar representatives, who are primarily men. Working-class women are more likely to hold pink-collar jobs, or low-status occupations dominated by women. We argue that pink-collar legislators are uniquely positioned to legislate over redistributional policy. To test our argument, we combine a new coding of working-class backgrounds that accounts for pink-collar representation with state spending data on education and social services from U.S. states over time. Modeling compositional budget data, we find that class and gender intersect to shape policy outcomes via state budget allocations, with women’s pink-collar representation associated with increased spending on both education and social services.
Speakers and Presenters
Tiffany Barnes, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Kentucky