The Political Economy of the Prussian Three-Class Franchise

83 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2019

See all articles by Sascha O. Becker

Sascha O. Becker

Monash University - Department of Economics; University of Warwick

Erik Hornung

University of Cologne - Center for Macroeconomic Research (CMR); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 2019

Abstract

Did the Prussian three-class franchise, which politically over-represented the economic elite, affect policy-making? Combining MP-level political orientation, derived from all roll call votes in the Prussian parliament (1867–1903), with constituency characteristics, we analyze how local vote inequality, determined by tax payments, affected policy-making during Prussia's period of rapid industrialization. Contrary to the predominant view that the franchise system produced a conservative parliament, higher vote inequality is associated with more liberal voting, especially in regions with large-scale industry. We argue that industrialists preferred self-serving liberal policies and were able to coordinate on suitable MPs when vote inequality was high.

Keywords: Elites, inequality, political economy, Prussia, Three-class Franchise

JEL Classification: D72, N43, N93, P26

Suggested Citation

Becker, Sascha O. and Hornung, Erik, The Political Economy of the Prussian Three-Class Franchise (August 2019). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP13930, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3464450

Sascha O. Becker (Contact Author)

Monash University - Department of Economics ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3
Australia

University of Warwick ( email )

Gibbet Hill Rd.
Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8UW
United Kingdom

Erik Hornung

University of Cologne - Center for Macroeconomic Research (CMR) ( email )

Cologne
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Munich
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

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