Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Want Less Expensive Government? Elect More Women

Another observation from the Statement of Disbursements of the House (July through Sept) -- women congressional representatives often spend less than their male counterparts.

Looking at the year to date spending in the Statement of Disbursements, I noticed that in Pennsylvania Democrats Allyson Schwartz and Kathleen Dahlkemper were both in the lowest quartile of overall spending. Interesting, very interesting, but is this limited to Pennsylvania?

I checked a few other states -- just looking at places that I knew had one or more women in congress.

Shelley Berkley -- 980,321
Dean Heller -- 904,997
Dina Titus -- 858,662

Both Berkley and Titus are female so in Nevada both the costliest and least costly congressional reps are women.

Let's keep looking. How about Missouri:

Todd Akin -- 899,741
Roy Blount -- 992,633
Russ Carnahan -- 955,846
William Clay, Jr. -- 942,605
Emanuel Cleaver -- 825,836
Jo Ann Emerson -- 882,339
Sam Graves -- 892,020
Blaine Luetkemeyer -- 877,460
Ike Skelton -- 997,291

Of the 9 Missouri representatives the only woman in the delegation ranks 3rd in frugality. Emerson is a Republican. Not bad, not bad at all.

How about Arizona?

Jeff Flake -- 905,185
Trent Franks -- 945,908
Gabrielle Giffords -- 1,029,661
Raul Grijalva -- 971,054
Ann Kirkpatrick -- 683,588
Harry Mitchell -- 951,193
Ed Pastor -- 874,470

As with Nevada, the costliest and least costly congressional offices in this state are both represented by women. Giffords is a Republican Democrat; Kirkpatrick is a Democrat.

How about Minnesota?

Michelle Bachmann -- 1,065,273
Keith Ellison -- 874,410
John Kline -- 968,362
Betty McCollum -- 888,569
James Oberster -- 1,075,743
Erik Paulsen -- 943,053
Collin C. Peterson -- 914,929
Tim Walz -- 944,350

Bachmann, who heads the second most expensive office in the state is a Republican; McCollum, whose office is the second least expensive is a Democrat.

Let's look at one more, Colorado:
Diana DeGette -- 961,964
Doug Lamborn -- 955,305
Betsy Markey -- 777,111
Ed Perlmutter -- 956,660
Jared Polis -- 1,005,985
John Salazar -- 1,007,358
Mike Coffman -- 941,820
John Shadegg -- 999,325

Of the 8 congressional representatives, Markey and Degette (both Democrats) run the least expensive and 4th least expensive.

This is only 6 of the 50 states but most of the women in the House from these states spend less than their fellows from the same state; though in two of those states the most expensive office is headed by a woman.

I'm not sure what if any conclusions can be drawn from such a small sampling and with some contradictory results, or if spending less is good for their constituents or not, but I think it is a subject that needs more study. If anyone knows a graduate student in political science, give them a nudge in that direction.

For my own part, I look at these numbers and think that women in the House do their jobs for less money, but you could make a case that I am biased.


Anonymous said...

Cong. Giffords (AZ) is a Democrat.

Anonymous said...

Cong. Giffords (AZ) is a Democrat.

AboveAvgJane said...

Thank you; I corrected the post. My apologies for the error.

Clem Guttata said...

Suggestion... in order to draw any strong conclusions you'd need to at least control for number of terms (and, perhaps leadership/committee positions). I strongly suspect any gender difference would disappear at that point.

AboveAvgJane said...


You could be right. I was working with a very small sample -- I don't have access to a larger pool of data. Hopefully someone with the time and ability to do more research will do a larger scale study. The post was intended to encourage someone to do just that.