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Tax Structure, Size of Government, and the Extension of the Voting Franchise in Western Europe, 1860-1938

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  • Aidt, T.S.
  • Jense , P.S.

Abstract

We study the consequences of the extension of the voting franchise for the size of (central) government and for the tax structure in 10 Western European countries, 1860-1938. We show, .rstly, that the gradual relaxation of income and wealth restrictions on the right to vote contributed to growth in government spending and taxation. Secondly, we show that the impact of the franchise extension on the tax structure is conditional on tax collection costs. We find that the share of direct taxes (including the personal income tax) is positively affected by the franchise extension, but only if relative collection costs are below a given threshold. We use literacy as a proxy for the cost of levying a broad-based income tax.

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  • Aidt, T.S. & Jense , P.S., 2007. "Tax Structure, Size of Government, and the Extension of the Voting Franchise in Western Europe, 1860-1938," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0715, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:0715
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    Cited by:

    1. Du Rietz, Gunnar & Johansson, Dan & Stenkula, Mikael, 2013. "Swedish Labor Income Taxation (1862–2013)," Working Paper Series 977, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised 10 Sep 2015.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Angelopoulos, Konstantinos & Economides, George & Kammas, Pantelis, 2012. "Does cabinet ideology matter for the structure of tax policies?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 620-635.
    5. Adam, Antonis & Kammas, Pantelis & Lapatinas, Athanasios, 2015. "Income inequality and the tax structure: Evidence from developed and developing countries," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 138-154.
    6. Stephanie Meinhard & Niklas Potrafke, 2012. "The Globalization–Welfare State Nexus Reconsidered," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(2), pages 271-287, May.
    7. 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.
    8. repec:eee:inecon:v:109:y:2017:i:c:p:85-101 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Emmanuel Saez, 2016. "Why Can Modern Governments Tax So Much? An Agency Model of Firms as Fiscal Intermediaries," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 83(330), pages 219-246, April.
    10. Aidt, T. & Jensen, P.S., 2007. "The Taxman Tools Up: An Event History Study of the Introduction of the Personal Income Tax in Western Europe, 1815-1941," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0766, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    11. Seghezza, Elena, 2015. "Fiscal capacity and the risk of sovereign debt after the Glorious Revolution: A reinterpretation of the North–Weingast hypothesis," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 71-81.
    12. Besley, Timothy J. & Persson, Torsten, 2013. "Taxation and Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 9307, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. 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.
    14. Valentino Larcinese, 2011. "Enfranchisement and Representation: Italy 1909-1913," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series 032, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
    15. repec:eee:regeco:v:65:y:2017:i:c:p:38-55 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. James B. Davies & Stanley L. Winer, 2011. "Closing the 49th Parallel: An Unexplored Episode in Canadian Economic and Political History," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 37(3), pages 307-341, September.
    17. Sajjad Faraji Dizaji & Mohammad Reza Farzanegan, 2014. "Political Institutions and Government Spending Behavior in Iran," CESifo Working Paper Series 4620, CESifo Group Munich.
    18. Andrew Pickering & Sheraz Rajput, 2015. "Inequality and the composition of taxes," Discussion Papers 15/04, Department of Economics, University of York.
    19. Zissimos, Ben, 2017. "A theory of trade policy under dictatorship and democratization," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 85-101.
    20. Mihai Mutascu, 2014. "Influence of climate conditions on tax revenues," Contemporary Economics, University of Finance and Management in Warsaw, vol. 8(3), September.
    21. repec:cep:stieop:41 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Jimenez-Ayora, Pablo & Ulubaşoğlu, Mehmet Ali, 2015. "What underlies weak states? The role of terrain ruggedness," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 167-183.
    23. 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.
    24. Daron Acemoglu & Suresh Naidu & Pascual Restrepo & James A. Robinson, 2013. "Democracy, Redistribution and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 19746, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Voting franchise; democracy; public finance; taxation.;

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government

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