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Workers of the World, Unite! Franchise Extensions and the Threat of Revolution in Europe, 1820-1938

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  • Toke Aidt
  • Peter S. Jensen

Abstract

This paper tests the hypothesis that the extension of the voting franchise was caused by the threat of revolution, as suggested by Acemoglu and Robinson [Quarterly Journal of Economics 115, 1167-1199, 2000]. We approximate the threat of revolution in a given country by revolutionary events happening in neighboring countries. We investigate the relationship between this new measure of the threat of revolution and measures of suffrage reform in two samples of European countries covering the period from 1820 to 1938. We find strong support for the ‘threat of revolution theory’. We also find some evidence that war triggered suffrage reform, whereas other theories of the extension of the franchise, including ‘modernization theory’, receive little support.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3417.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3417

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Keywords: the extension of the voting franchise; democracy; threat of revolution; suffrage;

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References

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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Middle Class Rising?
    by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson in Why Nations Fail on 2013-07-02 06:39:00
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Cited by:
  1. Baten, Joerg & Mumme, Christina, 2013. "Does inequality lead to civil wars? A global long-term study using anthropometric indicators (1816–1999)," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 56-79.
  2. Buchheim, Lukas & Ulbricht, Robert, 2014. "Emergence and Persistence of Extreme Political Systems," TSE Working Papers, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE) 14-464, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  3. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2013. "Economics versus Politics: Pitfalls of Policy Advice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 173-92, Spring.
  4. Frederik Toscani, 2013. "Why High Human Capital Makes Good Revolutionaries: The Role of the Middle Classes in Democratisation," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge 1332, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  5. Daron Acemoglu & Suresh Naidu & Pascual Restrepo & James A. Robinson, 2013. "Democracy, Redistribution and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 19746, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Aidt, T.S. & Jensen, P.S., 2012. "From Open to Secret Ballot: Vote Buying and Modernization," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge 1221, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  7. Degryse, H.A. & Lambert, T. & Schwienbacher, A., 2013. "The Political Economy of Financial Systems: Evidence from Suffrage Reforms in the Last Two Centuries," Discussion Paper, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research 2013-046, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  8. Braunfels, Elias, 2014. "How do Political and Economic Institutions Affect Each Other?," Discussion Paper Series in Economics, Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics 19/2014, Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics.
  9. Toke Aidt & Peter S. Jensen, 2013. "Democratization and the Size of Government: Evidence from the Long 19th Century," CESifo Working Paper Series, CESifo Group Munich 4132, CESifo Group Munich.

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