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Does franchise extension reduce short-run economic growth? Evidence from New South Wales, 1862-1882

  • Edwyna Harris
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    Empirical studies have established that franchise extension has positive effects on long-run growth because democratisation leads to greater equality of access to resources. However, in the short-run franchise may lead to a redistribution of resources away from important sectors of an economy. This paper examines this proposition by considering the case of land reform in the colony of New South Wales between 1862 and 1882. Reform was a direct result of franchise extension in preceding years that attempted to reallocate land away from the wool sector to small agriculturalists. Wool producers tried to avoid redistribution of their holdings by expending resources on evading reform legislation. These were resources that could have been invested in productive activities and therefore, it is expected that franchise reduced short-run growth because of the institutional changes it induced. The results presented here confirm that evasion efforts acted to reduce both pastoral sector and total GDP in the short-run.

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    File URL: http://www.buseco.monash.edu.au/eco/research/papers/2011/1911franchiseextensionharris.pdf
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    Paper provided by Monash University, Department of Economics in its series Monash Economics Working Papers with number 19-11.

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    Length: 31 pages
    Date of creation: Sep 2011
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:mos:moswps:2011-19
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Monash University, Victoria 3800, Australia
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    Web page: http://www.buseco.monash.edu.au/eco/
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    1. Marvin Goodfriend & John McDermott, 1994. "Early development," Working Paper 94-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
    2. Zerbe, Richard O. & Anderson, C. Leigh, 2001. "Culture And Fairness In The Development Of Institutions In The California Gold Fields," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(01), pages 114-143, March.
    3. Allen, Douglas W, 1991. "Homesteading and Property Rights; or, "How the West Was Really Won."," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(1), pages 1-23, April.
    4. Alan Dye & Sumner La Croix, 2012. "The Political Economy of Land Privatization in Argentina and Australia, 1810-1850," Working Papers 201207, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
    5. Lee J. Alston & Edwyna Harris & Bernardo Mueller, 2009. "De Facto and De Jure Property Rights: Land Settlement and Land Conflict on the Australian, Brazilian and U.S. Frontiers," NBER Working Papers 15264, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Allen, Douglas W., 2007. "Information Sharing During the Klondike Gold Rush," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 67(04), pages 944-967, December.
    7. Alston, Lee J. & Libecap, Gary D. & Mueller, Bernardo, 2000. "Land Reform Policies, the Sources of Violent Conflict, and Implications for Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 162-188, March.
    8. Edwyna Harris, 2010. "Scarcity and the Evolution of Water Rights in the Nineteenth Century: the Role of Climate and Asset Type," Monash Economics Working Papers 45-10, Monash University, Department of Economics.
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