Class, Social Mobility, and Voting: Evidence from Historical Voting Records

60 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2021

See all articles by Torun Dewan

Torun Dewan

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Government

Christopher Kam

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Department of Political Science

Jaakko Meriläinen

Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) - Centro de Investigacion Economica

Janne Tukiainen

University of Turku - Turku School of Business - Department of Economics; VATT Institute for Economic Research

Date Written: January 4, 2021

Abstract

We explore the connection between social class, social mobility, and voting behavior in nineteenth-century England. To avoid pitfalls associated with survey or aggregate data on voting behavior, we use administrative longitudinal records preceding secret ballot on voters’ choices and occupation. These data reveal that the landed gentry, farm workers, non-skilled workers and white-collar workers voted, on average, more for the Conservatives, and petty bourgeoisie and skilled workers for the Liberals. The changes in voting behavior within individuals due to social mobility are immediate and mainly consistent with the same cleavage. Our interpretation is that voting was influenced by economic incentives.

Keywords: class-based voting, economic voting, social mobility, voting behavior, poll books

JEL Classification: D72, N33, N93

Suggested Citation

Dewan, Torun and Kam, Christopher and Meriläinen, Jaakko and Tukiainen, Janne and Tukiainen, Janne, Class, Social Mobility, and Voting: Evidence from Historical Voting Records (January 4, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3773746 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3773746

Torun Dewan

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Government ( email )

Northampton NN7 1NE
United Kingdom

Christopher Kam

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Department of Political Science ( email )

Vancouver, V6T 1Z1
Canada

Jaakko Meriläinen (Contact Author)

Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) - Centro de Investigacion Economica ( email )

Av. Camino a Santa Teresa #930
Col. Heroes de Padierna
Mexico City, D.F. 10370
Mexico

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/view/jaakkomerilainen/

Janne Tukiainen

VATT Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Arkadiankatu 7
P.O Box 1279
Helsinki, FIN-00101
Finland

University of Turku - Turku School of Business - Department of Economics ( email )

Rehtorinpellonkatu 3
Turku, 20014
Finland

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