fredag 26 februari 2021


Statsvetaren Adam Przeworski ställer i en artikel från 2009 en intressant fråga redan i titeln: 1900-talets rösträttsreformer, var de till skänks (granted) eller erövrade (conquered)? Han börjar också själva texten med ett intresseväckande citat, från den engelske preminärministern Earl Grey i parlamentets debatt om rösträttsreform 1831: ‘The Principal of my Reform is to prevent the necessity of revolution. I am reforming to preserve, not to overthrow.’

1700- och 1800-talets rösträttsreformer handlade inte om demokati i någon djupare bemärkelse;  de fattiga och kvinnorna uteslöts i princip alltid. "the road from representative government to mass democracy took a long time to traverse." (s. 291) År 1900 hade bara ett land allmän rösträtt medan 17 länder hade rösträtt för alla män. (Det låter som högt räknat tycker jag!) Med en go utblick till forskningsdiskussionen på 1960-70-talen sammanfattar Przeworski läget så här:

"The classical explanation of extensions is the one offered by Earl Grey: reform to preserve. This explanation was echoed by Bendix and Rokkan,2 who observed that following the French Revolution many if not most European countries have undergone a process of popular agitation demanding that extension of rights, some pattern of resistance to this agitation by the privileged and established sections of the population, and an eventual accommodation through a new definition of rights. Przeworski and Corte´s3 as well as Freeman and Snidal4 developed models in which elites extend franchise as a response to the declining viability or legitimacy of the political system. In turn, Conley and Temini argued that extensions of franchise occur when the interests of the enfranchised and disenfranchised groups conflict and the disenfranchised group presents a credible threat.
Albeit in different languages, the generic argument runs as follows: (1) Being excluded is a source of deprivation of some kind. (2) At some time, the excluded threaten to revolt (the political system suffers a deficit of legitimacy). (3) Although sharing political rights would have consequences that are costly for the incumbent elite, the elite prefers to bear thes costs rather than risk a revolution. (4) Once admitted, the new citizens use their rights within the system, abandoning the insurrectionary strategy (they become encapsulated, co-opted or integrated). Hence, extensions of rights are a response of the incumbent holders of rights to revolutionary threats by the excluded.

This general argument is subject to a twist, recently provided by Acemoglu and Robinson. In their model, when the elite is confronted by a revolutionary threat of a sufficient magnitude, it calculates that it would be better off making economic concessions than risking that a revolution would damage their property. But if the threat is ephemeral, that is, if the capacity of the masses to revolt is not due to their permanent organization but only to some transient circumstances, a promise by the elite that it would maintain these concessions when the threat evaporates is not credible and the masses would revolt even if granted economic concessions. The only credible response is to change the identity of the pivotal decision maker by extending suffrage. Hence, suffrage extensions are to be expected when the elite faces a transient insurrectionary threat, a sporadic outburst of political unrest." (s. 292-3)

I alla dessa förklaringar erövras rösträtten av de exkluderade. I en motsatt tradition så utvidgas rösträtten mera frivilligt av eliterna.

"Lizzeri and Persico (Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2004) argued that extending suffrage changes the political equilibrium from one of redistribution to one where redistribution is curtailed in favour of providing public goods. This is because those currently disenfranchised value transfers less than members of the extant elite. Hence, when suffrage is extended the value of transfers becomes diluted and they become less attractive in relation to public goods. What precipitates extensions, therefore, are exogenous changes in the evaluation of public goods by the incumbent elite. Specifically, Lizzeri and Persico, who focus on nineteenth-century Britain, argue that the precipitating factor was the rapid growth of cities, which generated demand for sanitation and for roads. Ticchi and Vindigni claimed, in turn, that if an elite wants to induce men to engage in acts as costly as fighting and perhaps women to take men’s place in the factories, it must offer them a quid pro quo in terms of political rights. /.../

Finally, if the elite is divided, a majority within it may want to extend suffrage for partisan reasons. These reasons may be narrowly electoral, just a search for votes, but they may also entail looking for allies in pursuit of economic interests. Note that Acemoglu and Robinson considered but rejected the possibility that extensions were driven by partisan reasons in the cases they studied, while Lizzeri and Persico ruled out electoral considerations by an assumption. Yet Llavador and Oxoby think that a party of industrialists would extend suffrage to workers in order to obtain a mandate for pursuing industrialization policies, while a party of landowners may want to block such policies by enfranchising peasants in addition to workers." (s. 293-4)

Przeworski pekar på att de olika förklaringsmodellerna delvis handlar om olika typer av rösträttsutvidgningar -- per klass, per sektor, per kön.. Därför kan olika förklaringar och teorier fungera olika väl för olika reformer:

"Since some of these stories focus on redistribution of income while others evoke demand for public goods or preparations for war, they may be applicable to different types of extensions. Specifically, one could think that revolutionary threat is more likely to induce extensions along class lines, while increasing demand for public goods should lead to increasing the electorate without changing its class composition. Put differently, since the revolutionary threat theory focuses on redistribution of income, it must apply at least to extensions along class lines. In turn, since extensions along a pure gender line are more neutral with regard to redistribution, the Lizzeri–Persico model should hold at least for extensions to women alone." (s. 294)
Syftet med artikeln är att empiriskt testa de olika förklaringarna. Han menar att den tidigare empirisa litteraturen bara kollat på eett fåtal västeuropeiska fall, "with an obsessive focus on the English reform of 1832." (s. 295)

"The data analysed here (see the Appendix) cover 187 countries or dependent territories from the time they established first national electoral institutions until year 2000, yielding 14,604 annual observations of franchise rules. Suffrage qualifications are distinguished by twenty-one categories that combine class and gender criteria. These distinctions generate 348 franchise extensions, of which sixty-three occurred in Western Europe. Extensions are further distinguished by the criteria by which the newly incorporated groups were identified, namely, class, gender or both." (s. 295)
Han beskriver datat ganska utförligt och med olika statistiska mått. Figur 5 nedan visar t ex fördelningen över tid för de 348 reformerna när rösträtten utsträcktes.

Den deskriptiva delen följs av en ekonometrisk analys. Den första oberoende variabeln är unrest, som mäts som summan av strejker, demonstrationer och upplopp, från Arthur S. Banks  ‘Cross-National Time-Series Data Archive’. Den andra är antalet militär personal sedan 1816, också från Banks. För att mäta Lizzeri och Persicos teori om efterfrågan på offentliga nyttigheter (public oods) använder han andelen av befolkningen som bor i städer med 25 000 eller fler invånare. För att mäta samma teori använder han också barnadödligheten, från Brian Mitchells dataset. För att testa moderniseringsteorin använder han BNP per capita från Maddison.

I sina slutsatser säger Przeworski: "the poorer classes fought their way into the representative institutions. Once admitted, they were organized by different political parties. In pursuit of their economic and social goals, these parties sought to enhance their electoral positions, treating the issue of female suffrage as an instrument of electoral competition. While women protagonism may have been prominent in the United Kingdom and the United States, in most countries women were granted suffrage by parties pursuing electoral advantage." (s. 319)

Adam Przeworski (2009). Conquered or Granted? A History of Suffrage Extensions. British Journal of Political Science, 39, pp 291-321

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