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How to Get the Snowball Rolling and Extend the Franchise: Voting on the Great Reform Act of 1832

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  • Aidt , T.S.
  • Franck, R.

Abstract

This paper suggests a new approach to analyze the causes of franchise extension. Based on a new dataset, it provides a detailed econometric study of the Great Reform Act of 1832 in the United Kingdom. The econometric analysis yields four main results. First, modernization theory only receives mixed support. Second, the reform enjoyed some measure of popular support. Third, the threat of revolution had an asymmetric impact on the voting behavior of the pro-reform Whigs and the anti-reform Tories. While the threat might have convinced reluctant reformers among the Whig politicians – and among their patrons – to support the bill, it seems to have hardened the resistance to reform among the Tories. Fourth, ideology played a critical role. However, it also appears that self-interest and political expedience explained the votes of many Members of Parliament.

Suggested Citation

  • Aidt , T.S. & Franck, R., 2008. "How to Get the Snowball Rolling and Extend the Franchise: Voting on the Great Reform Act of 1832," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0832, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:0832
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    Citations

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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. Daron Acemoglu & Tarek A. Hassan & Ahmed Tahoun, 2014. "The Power of the Street: Evidence from Egypt's Arab Spring," NBER Working Papers 20665, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. repec:kap:copoec:v:28:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10602-017-9241-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Tridimas, George, 2015. "War, disenfranchisement and the fall of the ancient Athenian democracy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 102-117.
    5. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Franchise extension; democratization; The Great Reform Act.;

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government

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