Club Women and the Provision of Local Public Goods

  • Jayme LemkeEmail author
  • Julia R. Norgaard
Part of the Studies in Public Choice book series (SIPC, volume 39)


Despite the variety of legal, political, and social barriers facing women who sought to contribute to public life in the 19th and early 20th centuries in the United States, women’s clubs emerged as prominent contributors to local public goods within their communities. Club women constructed public walkways, managed beautification projects, coordinated fire-fighting services, offered medical and financial relief to poorer community members, advocated for local reforms, and facilitated a variety of educational opportunities for themselves and others. In this paper, we draw on the theory of local public goods as developed by Elinor Ostrom, and other contributors to the Bloomington school of institutional analysis, to explain women’s contributions to these various goods in the context of their organizational rules and the benefits of women’s club membership.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mercatus CenterGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  2. 2.Pepperdine UniversityMalibuUSA

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