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Landholding Inequality, Social Control, and Mass Opposition to Suffrage Extension


Emmenegger, Patrick; Thoma, Andreina; Walter, André (2023). Landholding Inequality, Social Control, and Mass Opposition to Suffrage Extension. British Journal of Political Science:1-19.

Abstract

Does landholding inequality undermine democratization? Recent contributions have challenged the argument that landholding elites oppose suffrage extension if geographically fixed assets are unequally distributed. We advance research on this long-standing question by exploiting exogenous variance to reinvestigate the relationship. Using multiple instruments, we find that landholding inequality decreases support for suffrage extension. By focusing on traditional patterns of social control, we explore an empirically neglected mechanism linking landholding inequality and democratization. Taking advantage of four direct democratic votes between 1866 and 1877 in Switzerland, we demonstrate that landholding inequality also influences the political preferences of ordinary citizens who do not control these resources. This paper shows that high levels of landholding inequality provide local elites with the incentive and the means to align the local population's voting behaviour with their political goals. Supplementary analyses using qualitative and quantitative data further substantiate this social control mechanism.

Abstract

Does landholding inequality undermine democratization? Recent contributions have challenged the argument that landholding elites oppose suffrage extension if geographically fixed assets are unequally distributed. We advance research on this long-standing question by exploiting exogenous variance to reinvestigate the relationship. Using multiple instruments, we find that landholding inequality decreases support for suffrage extension. By focusing on traditional patterns of social control, we explore an empirically neglected mechanism linking landholding inequality and democratization. Taking advantage of four direct democratic votes between 1866 and 1877 in Switzerland, we demonstrate that landholding inequality also influences the political preferences of ordinary citizens who do not control these resources. This paper shows that high levels of landholding inequality provide local elites with the incentive and the means to align the local population's voting behaviour with their political goals. Supplementary analyses using qualitative and quantitative data further substantiate this social control mechanism.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Political Science and International Relations
Uncontrolled Keywords:Sociology and Political Science
Language:English
Date:25 August 2023
Deposited On:14 Sep 2023 10:34
Last Modified:30 Mar 2024 04:39
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:0007-1234
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1017/s0007123423000297