New paper in BJPS

Great news from the British Journal of Political Science. Our paper, “Landholding Inequality, Social Control, and Mass Opposition to Suffrage Extension”, got accepted for publication (together with Andreina Thoma and André Walter). Great way to start the week. Here is the abstract of the paper.

Does landholding inequality undermine democratization? Pointing to endogeneity concerns, recent contributions have challenged the established 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. In addition, by focusing on traditional patterns of social control, we explore a hitherto 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. The paper thus shows that high levels of landholding inequality provide local elites not only with the incentive but also with the means to align the local population’s voting behavior with their political goals. Supplementary analyses using qualitative and quantitative data further substantiate this social control mechanism.