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

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  • Aidt, T.S.
  • Daunton, M.
  • Dutta, J.

Abstract

Does local democracy help or hinder the solution of collective action problems? We study this question in the context of public spending on health-related urban amenities in a panel of 75 municipal boroughs in England and Wales in 1868, 1871 and 1886. We .nd evidence of a U-shaped relationship between spending on urban amenities and the extension of the local voting franchise. We argue that this retrenchment e¤ect arose because middle class taxpayers were unwilling to pay the cost of poor sanitation and the urban elites, elected on a narrow franchise, were instrumental for sanitary improvements. Our model of taxpayer democracy suggests that the retrenchment e¤ect is related to forced enfranchisement of the middle class through nation-wide reforms.

Suggested Citation

  • Aidt, T.S. & Daunton, M. & Dutta, J., 2008. "The Retrenchment Hypothesis and the Extension of the Franchise in England and Wales," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0818, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:0818
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    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. Chapman, Jonathan, 2016. "Democratic reform and opposition to government expenditure : evidence from nineteenth-century Britain," Economics Working Papers MWP2016/21, European University Institute.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Fumagalli, Eileen & Narciso, Gaia, 2012. "Political institutions, voter turnout, and policy outcomes," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 162-173.
    8. 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.
    9. Dalibor Eterovic & Nicolas Eterovic, 2010. "Political Competition vs. PoliticalParticipation: Effects on Government's Size," Working Papers wp_006, Adolfo Ibáñez University, School of Government.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. Sajjad Faraji Dizaji & Mohammad Reza Farzanegan, 2014. "Political Institutions and Government Spending Behavior in Iran," CESifo Working Paper Series 4620, CESifo Group Munich.
    14. 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.
    15. 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.
    16. 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.
    17. Fasoranti, Modupe Mary & Alimi, Rasaq Santos, 2017. "Government Size, Political Institutions and Output Growth in Nigeria," MPRA Paper 80562, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. 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.
    19. 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.
    20. 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.
    21. 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.
    22. 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.
    23. 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.
    24. 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.
    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

    Keywords

    Voting franchise; retrenchment; local public goods; sanitation.;

    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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