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

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  • Aidt, Toke S.

    () (Faculty of Economics)

  • Jensen, Peter S.

    () (Department of Business and Economics)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Aidt, Toke S. & Jensen, Peter S., 2010. "Workers of the world, unite! Franchise extensions and the threat of revolution in Europe, 1820-1938," Discussion Papers of Business and Economics 7/2010, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Business and Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:sdueko:2010_007
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    1. repec:eee:poleco:v:49:y:2017:i:c:p:108-122 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Buchheim, Lukas & Ulbricht, Robert, 2014. "Dynamics of Political Systems," TSE Working Papers 14-464, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised May 2016.
    3. Degryse, Hans & Lambert, Thomas & Schwienbacher, Armin, 2013. "The Political Economy of Financial Systems: Evidence from Suffrage Reforms in the Last Two Centuries," CEPR Discussion Papers 9621, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. 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.
    5. repec:eee:inecon:v:109:y:2017:i:c:p:85-101 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Aidt, T.S. & Jensen, P.S., 2012. "From Open to Secret Ballot: Vote Buying and Modernization," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1221, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    7. Michael Dorsch & Paul Maarek, 2016. "Democratization and the conditional dynamics of income distribution," Working Papers hal-01350968, HAL.
    8. repec:kap:copoec:v:28:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10602-017-9241-2 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    The extension of the voting franchise; democracy; threat of revolution; suffrage;

    JEL classification:

    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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