EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Delivering the Vote: The Political Effect of Free Mail Delivery in Early Twentieth Century America

Elisabeth Perlman and Steven Sprick Schuster ()

The Journal of Economic History, 2016, vol. 76, issue 3, 769-802

Abstract: The rollout of Rural Free Delivery (RFD) in the early twentieth century dramatically increased the frequency with which rural voters received information. This article examines the effect of RFD on voters' and Representatives' behavior using a panel dataset and instrumental variables. Communities receiving more routes spread their votes to more parties; there is no evidence it changed turnout. RFD shifted positions taken by Representatives in line with rural constituents, including increased support for pro-temperance and anti-immigration policies. These results appear only in counties with newspapers, supporting the hypothesis that information flows play a crucial role in the political process. “As the whole world has been drawn closer together by the inventions and uses of steam and electricity, so farmers may be drawn closer together by the universal practice of free delivery.†—Matthew Williams of Verndale, Minnesota as quoted in the 1900 Yearbook of the United States Department of Agriculture

Date: 2016
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (6) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
https://www.cambridge.org/core/product/identifier/ ... type/journal_article link to article abstract page (text/html)

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:cup:jechis:v:76:y:2016:i:03:p:769-802_00

Access Statistics for this article

More articles in The Journal of Economic History from Cambridge University Press Cambridge University Press, UPH, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge CB2 8BS UK.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Keith Waters ().

 
Page updated 2021-06-10
Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:76:y:2016:i:03:p:769-802_00