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The 'Beeching Axe' and Electoral Support in Britain

Quiroz Flores, A and Whiteley, P (2018) 'The 'Beeching Axe' and Electoral Support in Britain.' European Review of Economic History, 22 (3). 361 - 379. ISSN 1361-4916

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Abstract

Policy implementation has important electoral effects, but there is often a problem in determining if policy changes drive electoral behaviour or if the process works in reverse. To address this issue we exploit a unique natural experiment in Britain: the closure of thousands of train stations, known as the Beeching Cuts, on the eve of General Election of 1964. We use several statistical methods to show that policy implementation was unaffected by partisan considerations and therefore it can be regarded as an exogenous intervention. An individual level model of voting intentions from the first British Election Study conducted in 1963, and an aggregate model of party vote shares in the General Election of 1964 show that the closures significantly changed voting support for the Conservative party. The 1964 election was very competitive and the closures clearly contributed to the defeat of the incumbent government after 13 years of uninterrupted rule.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2017 13:28
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2018 17:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/20758

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