IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Enfranchisement and Representation: Evidence from the Introduction of Quasi-Universal Suffrage in Italy

  • Valentino Larcinese

What are the political consequences of introducing de jure political equality? Does it change patterns of political representation and the identity of elected legislators? This paper uses an important electoral reform passed in 1912 in Italy to provide evidence on these questions. The reform trebled the electorate (from slightly less than three million to 8.650.000) leaving electoral rules and district boundaries unchanged. By exploiting differences in enfranchisement rates across electoral districts we identify the effect of franchise extension on various political outcomes. Enfranchisement increased the vote share of left-wing social reformers but had no impact on their parliamentary representation, no impact on parliamentary representation of aristocracy and traditional elites and no effect on political competition. We show that left-wing parties decreased their vote shares and were systematically defeated in key swing districts. We document elite's effort to minimize the political impact of the reform and, in particular, we show that the Vatican's secret involvement in the post-reform electoral campaign had a substantial impact on voting results, although formerly and newly enfranchised voters were equally affected. We relate our results to economic theories of democratization, which appear to be only partially compatible with our evidence. Keywords: democratization, voting, electoral competition, inequality, swing districts, political violence, Vatican, socialism. JEL code: D72

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: ftp://ftp.igier.unibocconi.it/wp/2014/512.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 512.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:512
Contact details of provider: Postal: via Rontgen, 1 - 20136 Milano (Italy)
Phone: 0039-02-58363301
Fax: 0039-02-58363302
Web page: http://www.igier.unibocconi.it/

Order Information: Web: http://www.igier.unibocconi.it/en/papers/index.htm Email:


References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. 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.
  2. Humberto Llavador & Robert Oxoby, 2003. "Partisan competition, growth and the franchise," Economics Working Papers 730, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Sep 2004.
  3. 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.
  4. Casey B. Mulligan & Xavier Sala-i-Martin & Ricard Gil, 2003. "Do Democracies Have Different Public Policies than Nondemocracies?," NBER Working Papers 10040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Per Pettersson-Lidbom, 2008. "Do Parties Matter for Economic Outcomes? A Regression-Discontinuity Approach," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(5), pages 1037-1056, 09.
  6. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . ""An Economic Model of Representative Democracy''," CARESS Working Papres 95-02, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  7. Ticchi, Davide & Vindigni, Andrea, 2008. "War and Endogenous Democracy," IZA Discussion Papers 3397, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson & Pierre Yared, 2007. "Reevaluating the Modernization Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 13334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. repec:ucp:bkecon:9780226731445 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 2003. "Political Institutions and Policy Choices: Evidence from the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(1), pages 7-73, March.
  11. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinksi, 1995. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-01, McMaster University.
  12. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521821742 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. 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.
  14. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521529167 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. 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.
  16. Fernando Ferreira & Joseph Gyourko, 2007. "Do Political Parties Matter? Evidence from U.S. Cities," NBER Working Papers 13535, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521821759 is not listed on IDEAS
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:512. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.