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The German elections in the 1870s: why Germany turned from liberalism to protectionism


  • Sibylle Lehmann

    () (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn)


In 1878 the liberal parties lost enough votes to loose the majority in the parliament which they had defended in the general election just one year before. In this paper, the question of where the voters came from and why the voting changed so crucially within one year are re-examined. The analysis uses a new set of data aggregated at a lower level than those examined by previous stud-ies and makes use of King’s Algorithm, a tool provided by modern political science. The main finding of this paper is that the change towards protectionism was not caused by new, but by floating voters from the agricultural sector.

Suggested Citation

  • Sibylle Lehmann, 2009. "The German elections in the 1870s: why Germany turned from liberalism to protectionism," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2009_34, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  • Handle: RePEc:mpg:wpaper:2009_34

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. King, Gary & Rosen, Ori & Tanner, Martin & Wagner, Alexander F., 2008. "Ordinary Economic Voting Behavior in the Extraordinary Election of Adolf Hitler," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(04), pages 951-996, December.
    2. Irwin, Douglas A, 1994. "The Political Economy of Free Trade: Voting in the British General Election of 1906," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(1), pages 75-108, April.
    3. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
    4. Temin, Peter, 2002. "The Golden Age of European growth reconsidered," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 3-22, April.
    5. Schonhardt-Bailey, Cheryl, 1998. "Parties and Interests in the," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 28(02), pages 291-332, April.
    6. K. H. O'Rourke & R. Sinnott, 2001. "The Determinants of Individual Trade Policy Preferences: International Survey Evidence," CEG Working Papers 20016, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kersting, Felix, 2017. "Coal and Blood: Industrialization and the Rise of Nationalism in Prussia before 1914," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 52, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    2. Thilo R. Huning & Fabian Wahl, 2016. "You Reap What You Know: Observability of Soil Quality, and Political Fragmentation," Working Papers 0101, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    3. Cinnirella, Francesco & Schueler, Ruth M., 2016. "Nation Building: The Role of Central Spending in Education," CEPR Discussion Papers 11621, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Lehmann, Sibylle & Volckart, Oliver, 2011. "The political economy of agricultural protection: Sweden 1887," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(01), pages 29-59, April.
    5. VAN DIJCK, Maarten & TRUYTS, Tom, 2014. "The agricultural invasion and the political economy of agricultural trade policy in Belgium, 1875-1900," CORE Discussion Papers 2014002, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).

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    JEL classification:

    • C11 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Bayesian Analysis: General
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • H83 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - Public Administration
    • N43 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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