Sex Differences in Political Participation: Processes of Change in Fourteen Nations

By Carol A. Christy | Go to book overview

Appendix D
Sex Differences in Political Participation

Throughout this analysis, sex differences are measured by gamma. Gamma has rather unique properties in comparison to other common ordinal level measures of association such as Tau b and c. Specifically, gamma is relatively insensitive to skewed marginals (for example, when a large proportion of the sample clusters at either end of a scale). Many types of political participation are highly skewed; that is, few individuals engage in campaign, contacting, and protest activities. In such cases, gamma remains large while other measures of association commonly shrink. Conventional conceptions of inequality center on the representation of women among political activists. Gamma best taps this conception because it continues to show sex differences to be large in elitist activities where a small proportion of activists are female.

There are some drawbacks to gamma. Even when the marginals are not skewed, sex differences measured by gamma run nearly twice as large as for other common measures of association. (See Christy 1980, pp. 534-38.) Also, gamma is especially vulnerable to sampling error when the marginals are skewed and in fact is not even accompanied by a test of statistical significance in the SPSS version. However, the seriousness of these problems is mitigated by the large number of cases, the frequent replications across different surveys of the same nation, and the general objective of comparing sex differences rather than discussing their absolute level. (In fact, because of this general objective, tests of the statistical significance of the sex differences are meaningless. More appropriate would be a test of the statistical significance of the variations in sex differences, but such a test is not easily available.) Nevertheless, the reader should interpret the results cautiously and realize that the sex differences are exaggerated.

Pearson's r is used to measure the cross-national and within-nation variations in sex differences. The statistic is standard for multivariate analysis and is easily understood because of its widespread use. However, note that

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Sex Differences in Political Participation: Processes of Change in Fourteen Nations
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures vii
  • Tables ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • Notes 32
  • 2 - Cross-National Variations 35
  • Notes 66
  • 3 - Within-Nation Variations 67
  • Notes 93
  • 4 - Temporal Variations 95
  • Notes 112
  • 5 - Conclusion 115
  • Appendix A The Surveys 123
  • Appendix B The Intervening and Dependent Variables 127
  • Appendix C The Independent Variables 133
  • Appendix D Sex Differences in Political Participation 139
  • References and Bibliography 155
  • Index 179
  • About the Author 193
  • Series Editors' Sketches 195
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