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The Retrenchment Hypothesis and the Extension of the Franchise in England and Wales

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  • TokeS. Aidt
  • Martin Daunton
  • Jayasri Dutta

Abstract

Does an extension of the voting franchise always increase public spending or can it be a source of retrenchment? We study this question in the context of public spending on health-related urban amenities in a panel of municipal boroughs from England and Wales in 1868, 1871 and 1886. We find evidence of a U-shaped relationship between spending on urban amenities and the extension of the local voting franchise. Our model of taxpayer democracy suggests that the retrenchment effect was related to enfranchisement of the middle class through nation-wide reforms and that these reforms might have been Pareto inferior in the average borough. Copyright © The Author(s). Journal compilation © Royal Economic Society 2010.

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  • TokeS. Aidt & Martin Daunton & Jayasri Dutta, 2010. "The Retrenchment Hypothesis and the Extension of the Franchise in England and Wales," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(547), pages 990-1020, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:120:y:2010:i:547:p:990-1020
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    Cited by:

    1. Aidt, Toke S. & Jensen, Peter S., 2014. "Workers of the world, unite! Franchise extensions and the threat of revolution in Europe, 1820–1938," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 52-75.
    2. Sajjad F. Dizaji & Mohammad Reza Farzanegan & Alireza Naghavi, 2016. "Political institutions and government spending behavior: theory and evidence from Iran," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(3), pages 522-549, June.
    3. Christopher J. Ellis & John Fender, 2014. "Public Sector Capital and the Transition from Dictatorship to Democracy," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 82(3), pages 322-346, June.
    4. Mark Dincecco & Ugo Troiano, 2015. "Broadening the State: Policy Responses to the Introduction of the Income Tax," NBER Working Papers 21373, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Toke Aidt & Raphaël Franck, 2013. "How to get the snowball rolling and extend the franchise: voting on the Great Reform Act of 1832," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 155(3), pages 229-250, June.
    6. Chapman, Jonathan, 2016. "Democratic reform and opposition to government expenditure : evidence from nineteenth-century Britain," Economics Working Papers MWP2016/21, European University Institute.
    7. Pantelis Kammas & Vassilis Sarantides, 2017. "Democratisation and tax structure: Greece versus Europe from a historical perspective," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 109, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
    8. Toke Aidt & Peter Jensen, 2013. "Democratization and the size of government: evidence from the long 19th century," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 157(3), pages 511-542, December.
    9. Aidt, T.S. & Eterovic, D.S., 2007. "Give and Take: Political Competition, Participation and Public Finance in 20th Century Latin America," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0714, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    10. Fasoranti, Modupe Mary & Alimi, Rasaq Santos, 2017. "Government Size, Political Institutions and Output Growth in Nigeria," MPRA Paper 80562, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Mohammad Reza Farzanegan & Sajjad Faraji Dizaji, 2014. "Political Institutions and Government Spending Behavior in Iran," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201403, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    12. Facundo Piguillem & Alessandro Riboni, 2015. "Spending-Biased Legislators: Discipline Through Disagreement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 130(2), pages 901-949.
    13. Jeremy Horpedahl, 2011. "Political exchange and the voting franchise: universal democracy as an emergent process," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 203-220, September.
    14. Aidt, Toke S. & Mooney, Graham, 2014. "Voting suffrage and the political budget cycle: Evidence from the London Metropolitan Boroughs 1902–1937," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 53-71.
    15. Dalibor Eterovic & Nicolás Eterovic, 2012. "Political competition versus electoral participation: effects on government’s size," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 333-363, December.
    16. Valentino LARCINESE, 2011. "Enfranchisement and Representation: Italy 1909-1913," Economics Working Paper from Condorcet Center for political Economy at CREM-CNRS 2014-02-ccr, Condorcet Center for political Economy, revised Jun 2014.
    17. Fumagalli, Eileen & Narciso, Gaia, 2012. "Political institutions, voter turnout, and policy outcomes," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 162-173.
    18. Frederik Toscani, 2013. "Why High Human Capital Makes Good Revolutionaries: The Role of the Middle Classes in Democratisation," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1332, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    19. Toke Aidt & Graham Mooney, 2014. "Voter suffrage and the political budget cycle: evidence from the London Metropolitan Boroughs 1902-1937," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1401, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    20. Toke Aidt & Graham Mooney, 2014. "Voting Suffrage and the Political Budget Cycle: Evidence from the London Metropolitan Boroughs 1902-1937," CESifo Working Paper Series 4614, CESifo Group Munich.
    21. Dalibor Eterovic & Nicolas Eterovic, 2010. "Political Competition vs. PoliticalParticipation: Effects on Government's Size," Working Papers wp_006, Adolfo Ibáñez University, School of Government.
    22. Valentino Larcinese, 2014. "Enfranchisement and Representation: Evidence from the Introduction of Quasi-Universal Suffrage in Italy," Working Papers 512, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    23. Dalibor Eterovic & Toke Aidt, 2010. "Political Competition, Electoral Participation and Public Finance in 20th Century Latin America," Working Papers wp_001, Adolfo Ibáñez University, School of Government.
    24. Bernard, Sophie & Hotte, Louis & Winer, Stanley L., 2014. "Democracy, inequality and the environment when citizens can mitigate health consequences of pollution privately or act collectively," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 142-156.
    25. Profeta, Paola & Puglisi, Riccardo & Scabrosetti, Simona, 2013. "Does democracy affect taxation and government spending? Evidence from developing countries," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 684-718.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • N93 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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