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

  • Aidt , T.S.
  • Franck, R.

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.

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File URL: http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/research/repec/cam/pdf/cwpe0832.pdf
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Paper provided by Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge in its series Cambridge Working Papers in Economics with number 0832.

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Length: 24
Date of creation: Aug 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:0832
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/index.htm

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  1. Bourguignon, F. & Verdier, T., 1997. "Oligarchy, Democracy, Inequality and Growth," DELTA Working Papers 97-10, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  2. 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, 09.
  3. Toke Aidt & Peter Jensen, 2009. "Tax structure, size of government, and the extension of the voting franchise in Western Europe, 1860–1938," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 362-394, June.
  4. Sebastian Coll, 2008. "The origins and evolution of democracy: an exercise in history from a constitutional economics approach," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 313-355, December.
  5. Gundlach, Erich & Paldam, Martin, 2009. "A farewell to critical junctures: Sorting out long-run causality of income and democracy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 340-354, September.
  6. Aidt, Toke S. & Jensen, Peter S., 2009. "The taxman tools up: An event history study of the introduction of the personal income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 160-175, February.
  7. Congleton, Roger D., 2007. "From royal to parliamentary rule without revolution: The economics of constitutional exchange within divided governments," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 261-284, June.
  8. Husted, Thomas A & Kenny, Lawrence W, 1997. "The Effect of the Expansion of the Voting Franchise on the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 54-82, February.
  9. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson & Pierre Yared, 2008. "Income and Democracy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 808-42, June.
  10. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2006. "Das Human-Kapital: A Theory of the Demise of the Class Structure," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 85-117.
  11. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Why Did The West Extend The Franchise? Democracy, Inequality, And Growth In Historical Perspective," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1167-1199, November.
  12. Barro, Robert J., 1999. "Determinants of Democracy," Scholarly Articles 3451297, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. Humberto Llavador & Robert J. Oxoby, 2004. "Partisan Competition, Growth and the Franchise," Working Papers 109, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  14. Mark Gradstein, 2007. "Inequality, democracy and the protection of property rights," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(516), pages 252-269, 01.
  15. Soumyanetra Munshi, 2011. "Enfranchisement from a political perspective," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 21-57, March.
  16. Gordon Tullock, 1971. "The paradox of revolution," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 89-99, September.
  17. Hettich, Walter & Winer, Stanley L, 1988. "Economic and Political Foundations of Tax Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 701-12, September.
  18. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521855266 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Aidt, Toke S. & Eterovic, Dalibor S., 2011. "Political competition, electoral participation and public finance in 20th century Latin America," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 181-200, March.
  20. Alessandro Lizzeri & Nicola Persico, 2004. "Why Did the Elites Extend the Suffrage? Democracy and the Scope of Government, With an Application to Britain's "Age of Reform"," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 705-763, May.
  21. Cheryl Schonhardt-Bailey, 1998. "Parties and interests in the ‘marriage of iron and rye'," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 861, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  22. 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.
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