Preprints of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2010,08
We analyse the Swedish general elections that took place in spring and autumn 1887. Our aim is to discover which groups of voters were responsible for the severe losses that the supporters of free trade suffered in the second of these contests, and that allowed the protectionists to gain the majority in parliament and to initiate a new tariff policy. We find that while capital owners and wage earners consistently favoured free trade, in the spring election only the largest farmers supported protectionism. By autumn, political preferences among smallholders and middling farmers had shifted in favour of protectionism, too. As these groups were not specialised in the production of import competing goods, we assume that the political landslide in the autumn elections can be attributed to the influence of anti-free trade propaganda.