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The Political Economy of Agricultural Protection: Sweden 1887


  • Sibylle Lehmann

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

  • Oliver Volckart

    () (London School of Economics and Political Science, Economic History Department)


We analyse the Swedish general elections that took place in spring and autumn 1887. Our aim is to discover which groups of voters were responsible for the severe losses that the supporters of free trade suffered in the second of these contests, and that allowed the protectionists to gain the majority in parliament and to initiate a new tariff policy. We find that while capital owners and wage earners consistently favoured free trade, in the spring election only the largest farmers supported protectionism. By autumn, political preferences among smallholders and middling farmers had shifted in favour of protectionism, too. As these groups were not specialised in the production of import competing goods, we assume that the political landslide in the autumn elections can be attributed to the influence of anti-free trade propaganda.

Suggested Citation

  • Sibylle Lehmann & Oliver Volckart, 2010. "The Political Economy of Agricultural Protection: Sweden 1887," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2010_08, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  • Handle: RePEc:mpg:wpaper:2010_08

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. King, Gary, 2004. "EI: A Program for Ecological Inference," Journal of Statistical Software, Foundation for Open Access Statistics, vol. 11(i07).
    2. 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.
    3. Lehmann, Sibylle H., 2010. "The German Elections in the 1870s: Why Germany Turned from Liberalism to Protectionism," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 70(01), pages 146-178, March.
    4. Klug, Adam, 2001. "Why Chamberlain failed and Bismarck succeeded: The political economy of tariffs in British and German elections," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(02), pages 219-250, August.
    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. O'Rourke, Kevin H., 1997. "The European Grain Invasion, 1870–1913," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 57(04), pages 775-801, December.
    7. Webb, Steven B., 1982. "Agricultural Protection in Wilhelminian Germany: Forging an Empire with Pork and Rye," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(02), pages 309-326, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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).

    More about this item


    voting; election analysis; tariffs; trade policies;

    JEL classification:

    • N43 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N53 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N73 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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