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How have American women voted in the first 100 years since the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment? How have popular understandings of women as voters both persisted and changed over time? In A Century of Votes for Women, Christina Wolbrecht and J. Kevin Corder offer an unprecedented account of women voters in American politics over the last ten decades. Bringing together new and existing data, the book provides unique insight into women's (and men's) voting behavior, and traces how women's turnout and vote choice evolved across a century of enormous transformation overall and for women in particular. Wolbrecht and Corder show that there is no such thing as 'the woman voter'; instead they reveal considerable variation in how different groups of women voted in response to changing political, social, and economic realities. The book also demonstrates how assumptions about women as voters influenced politicians, the press, and scholars.
We examine state-level variation in the flow of benefits under the largest Social Security programme – the Old-Age (OA) programme. OA pensions remain a robust and growing component of the American social safety net. Although OA pensions are entirely administered by the federal government, state-level demographic features can imply different aggregate levels of programme expenditures across states. We describe high levels of variation in the resources flowing into states from the OA programme and we find relationships between state features that might seem only remotely related to income support for the elderly: current unemployment rates, previous income levels, poverty rates and minority populations. We find a particularly strong link between current unemployment rates, OA coverage and OA average benefits. The number of recipients and the level of average OA payments increase when unemployment increases. This is a poorly understood but important feature of the OA programme.
How did the first female voters cast their ballots? For almost 100 years, answers to this question have eluded scholars. Counting Women's Ballots employs new data and novel methods to provide insights into whether, how, and with what consequences women voted in the elections after suffrage. The analysis covers a larger and more diverse set of places, over a longer period of time, than has previously been possible. J. Kevin Corder and Christina Wolbrecht find that the extent to which women voted and which parties they supported varied considerably across time and place, challenging attempts to describe female voters in terms of simple generalizations. Many women adapted quickly to their new right; others did not. In some cases, women reinforced existing partisan advantages; in others, they contributed to dramatic political realignment. Counting Women's Ballots improves our understanding of the largest expansion of the American electorate during a transformative period of American history.