The 1867 Reform Act in Britain extended the electoral franchise to the skilled but propertyless urban working classes. Using stock market data and exploiting the fact that foreign and domestic equities traded simultaneously on the London market, this paper finds that investors in British firms reacted negatively to the passage of this Act. We suggest that this finding is consistent with investors foreseeing future alterations of property rights arising from the pressure that the large newly enfranchised group would bring to bear on government policy. We also suggest that our findings appear to be more consistent with the Tory political competition explanation for the Act rather than the Whig threat-of-revolution explanation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Economics and Econometrics
- Sociology and Political Science