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The Political Economy of the Prussian Three-class Franchise

Author

Listed:
  • Becker, Sascha O.

    (Monash U and U Warwick)

  • Hornung, Erik

    (University of Cologne)

Abstract

Did the Prussian three-class franchise, which politically over-represented the economic elite, affect policy-making? Combining MP-level political orientation, derived from all roll call votes in the Prussian parliament (1867–1903), with constituency characteristics, we analyze how local vote inequality, determined by tax payments, affected policymaking during Prussia’s period of rapid industrialization. Contrary to the predominant view that the franchise system produced a conservative parliament, higher vote inequality is associated with more liberal voting, especially in regions with large-scale industry. We argue that industrialists preferred self-serving liberal policies and were able to coordinate on suitable MPs when vote inequality was high.

Suggested Citation

  • Becker, Sascha O. & Hornung, Erik, 2019. "The Political Economy of the Prussian Three-class Franchise," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 438, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cge:wacage:438
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    Cited by:

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    2. Mares, Isabela & Queralt, Didac, 2020. "Fiscal innovation in nondemocratic regimes: Elites and the adoption of the prussian income taxes of the 1890s⁎," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inequality; Political Economy; Three-class Franchise; Elites; Prussia JEL Classification: D72; N43; N93; P26;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • N43 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N93 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • P26 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Political Economy

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