Restrictions on Passive and Active Voting Rights during the First Wave

Thursday, July 13, 2017
Gilbert Scott Building - Room 253 (University of Glasgow)
Svend-Erik Skaaning , Department of Political Science, Aarhus University
Although much scholarly work has been devoted to the first wave of democratization, previous studies have primarily been occupied with the changes in and differences between dominant understandings of democracy, studies of single countries, and/or have taken an aggregate and rather crisp view of democracy, including the extension of passive and active suffrage. Against this backdrop, this paper presents a disaggregate, comparative overview of the developments in passive and active suffrage restrictions in Western countries from 1789 to 1920. The analysis is based on the Historical Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) project. This rich source offers indicators that distinguish between different sorts of restrictions for different chambers (if applicable), such as age, property, literacy, occupation, income, taxation, and ethnicity/religion. The overview provides more nuanced evidence for a large number of countries, which gives a unique opportunity to reassess theories developed to account for franchise extensions, sequencing of political rights, and complementary or substitution between different ways to restrict access to political power.