The Retrenchment Hypothesis and the Extension of the Franchise in England and Wales
Toke Aidt (),
Martin Daunton and
Jayasri Dutta ()
Cambridge Working Papers in Economics from Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge
Does local democracy help or hinder the solution of collective action problems? We study this question in the context of public spending on health-related urban amenities in a panel of 75 municipal boroughs in England and Wales in 1868, 1871 and 1886. We .nd evidence of a U-shaped relationship between spending on urban amenities and the extension of the local voting franchise. We argue that this retrenchment e¤ect arose because middle class taxpayers were unwilling to pay the cost of poor sanitation and the urban elites, elected on a narrow franchise, were instrumental for sanitary improvements. Our model of taxpayer democracy suggests that the retrenchment e¤ect is related to forced enfranchisement of the middle class through nation-wide reforms.
Keywords: Voting franchise; retrenchment; local public goods; sanitation. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D62 D78 H71 N93 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-his, nep-pbe, nep-pol and nep-ure
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Journal Article: The Retrenchment Hypothesis and the Extension of the Franchise in England and Wales (2010)
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Persistent link: http://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:cam:camdae:0818
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