Øyvind Skorge

Øyvind Skorge, PhD candidate in Political Science at the London School of Economics (LSE). I study gender inequality in politics and the labor market.

Care for career: mothers, toddlers, and the impact of daycare services on female leadership

Despite the gender revolution in work and education, women are still underrepresented in leadership positions across the economy. Women do more of childrearing and household work, and thus have less time for career investment. Full-time, subsidized childcare is often proposed as a remedy, but its actual influence on women's career investments is largely unknown. We make use of a large, recent daycare reform in Norway—which led to a staggered expansion of daycare services across the more than 400 Norwegian municipalities—as a quasi-experiment to address this question. With administrative register data on the whole Norwegian population, our instrumental-variable approach reveals that mothers with two-year-olds in full-time childcare instead of maternal care are more likely to work in occupations requiring longer hours and to have gained access to leadership positions in the economy. Using survey data we also find that mothers with access to daycare are more inclined to view their career as equally important as men's. The study thus attests to the importance of work-family policies for addressing gender inequalities in access to positions of power and career aspirations.

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Proportional politics: electoral institutions and women's share of the vote in the early twentieth century

Can electoral institutions promote gender equality in political participation? Focusing solely on women’s representation in parliaments and cabinets, existing research has overlooked how electoral rules affect the gender gap in turnout, and then in turn how the gap affects women’s representation. I argue that parties in proportional representation (PR􏰄􏰅) systems have greater incentives to mobilize women than candidates in plurality systems. In party-centered PR􏰄􏰅 systems every vote counts and partisan social networks permeate society, also lessening the information gap between women and men. The result is a mobilization of women at the voting booth. I also contend that, where women are mobilized the most, the result is an upward shift in representation in subsequent elections. The effect of 􏰄􏰅PR on women’s descriptive representation therefore runs through electoral mobilization. Empirically, I study the effect of the nationally imposed and exogenous shift from candidate- centered plurality system to a party-centered 􏰃􏰄PR system in Norwegian municipalities in the early twentieth century. About 􏰀􏰈􏰊350 of the municipalities were already using PR􏰃􏰄, whereas the remaining 􏰌􏰈􏰊250 were forced to switch from plurality to PR􏰃􏰄 before the 1919􏰁􏰂􏰁􏰂 election. Using a difference-in-difference design, I estimate that the shift from plurality to PR 􏰃􏰄increased women’s share of total turnout by about nine percentage points in the 􏰁􏰂􏰁􏰂1919 election, that is, an almost 40􏰅􏰊 percent increase from the counterfactual. I also find that the shift to PR, and the accompanying immediate growth in women’s turnout, increased women’s probability of being represented in municipal legislatures by about six percentage points in the subsequent 1922 􏰁􏰂􏰌􏰌 election. My study consequently indicates that the design of electoral institutions plays a key role in promoting gender equality in political participation. 

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Inequality and Inclusion: Democratization in 􏰀􏰁19th-century Germany and Norway

This paper argues, on the basis of within-country case studies of 􏰀􏰁19th-century Norway and Germany, that the effect of landholding inequality on democratization depends on the effective level of enfranchisement. If enfranchisement is restricted, either officially by property or effectively by electoral fraud, increasing inequality has a negative effect on votes for democracy; if enfranchisement is unrestricted, the effect of increasing inequality on votes for democracy is positive. We support our argument with evidence for MPs’ voting pa􏰆tterns for democratizing reforms.

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How the Organization of Workplaces Affects Gendered Career Patterns

The shift from the Fordist economies of the post-war decades to the “knowledge economies” of today is accompanied by a surge in levels of education and labor force participation among women. Despite this revolution, men are still outnum- bering women in high-pay occupations and in leadership positions. Why is this the case? The paper presents a theoretical framework in which the distribution of workplace flexibility across jobs affects the level of gender segregation in the labor market. Compared to men, women in paid work do a larger share of the house- hold and childrearing work. This “second shift” makes workplace flexibility, such as shorter working days and part-time work, more important to women than men. Thus, when some employers supply jobs that are highly flexible whereas others supply jobs that are highly inflexible, segregation is predicted to arise. Combined with the Varieties of Capitalism’s emphasis on specific skills as a source of occupational segregation, the job flexibility perspective can explain both between- and within-country variation in occupational gender segregation. Yet I emphasize that the effect of job flexibility should depend on the presence of work-family policies (WFPs). Where WFPs—in particular generous, publicly-funded daycare services and paternity leave—are available, there is less need for job flexibility, which again decreases the importance of flexibility for education and career choices. The re- search implies that an equal sharing of household work is a key to gender equality in the labor market. 

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The Effect of Dispersion of Political Authority on Turnout: Causal Evidence from Norway

This paper assesses the causal effect of dispersion of political authority on turnout. It is heavily disputed in the turnout literature whether the dispersion of power away from the legislature, in the form of the direct elections of an additional political body, decreases voter turnout, since the legislature becomes less important politically. I use the introduction of direct election of mayors in a number of Norwegian municipalities between 1999 and 2007 to test this claim. Employing a difference-in-difference design, and a fixed-effects OLS regression model on panel data, I do not find robust evidence in favor of the dispersion hypothesis. The reform does not seem to have any causal effect on voter turnout in the reform period for the municipalities introducing the reform.

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