Daughters Do Not Affect Political Beliefs in a New Democracy


A consistent finding in industrialized democracies is that having a daughter shapes parents’ attitudes and behaviors in gender-egalitarian ways. We test whether this finding travels to a young middle-income democracy where women’s rights are more tenuous: South Africa. Using a dataset of over 7,500 respondents with information on family structure, we find no discernible effect on attitudes about women’s rights or on partisan identification. We speculate that our null findings relate to opportunity: daughter effects are more likely when parents perceive economic, social, and political opportunities for women. When women’s customary status and de facto opportunities are low, as in South Africa, having a daughter may have no effect on parents’ political behavior. Our results demonstrate the virtues of diversifying case selection in political behavior beyond economically wealthy democracies.

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License CC BY
DOI https://doi.org/10.1017/XPS.2022.3
Type Journal Articles
C-ID POLS 130 - Comparative