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Workers of the world, unite! Franchise extensions and the threat of revolution in Europe, 1820-1938

  • Aidt, Toke S.


    (Faculty of Economics)

  • Jensen, Peter S.


    (Department of Business and Economics)

This paper tests the hypothesis that the extension of the voting franchise was caused by the threat of revolution, as suggested by Acemoglu and Robinson (2000). We approximate the threat of revolution in a given country by revolutionary events happening in neighboring countries. We investigate the relationship between this new measure of the threat of revolution and measures of suffrage reform in two samples of European countries covering the period from 1820 to 1938. We find strong support for the ‘threat of revolution theory’. We also find some evidence that war triggered suffrage reform, whereas ‘modernization theory’ receives little support.

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Paper provided by Department of Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark in its series Discussion Papers of Business and Economics with number 7/2010.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: 18 Oct 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:sdueko:2010_007
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Department of Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, DK-5230 Odense M, Denmark

Phone: 65 50 32 33
Fax: 65 50 32 37
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  19. 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.
  20. 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.
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  23. 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.
  24. Fearon, James D, 2003. "Ethnic and Cultural Diversity by Country," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 195-222, June.
  25. Aidt, T.S. & Dutta, Jayasri & Loukoianova, Elena, 2006. "Democracy comes to Europe: Franchise extension and fiscal outcomes 1830-1938," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 249-283, February.
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