Pro-consumer Legislation Supported by Elites: The Curious Case of the 1866 Post Roads Act

  • Aaron M. HonsowetzEmail author
Part of the Studies in Public Choice book series (SIPC, volume 39)


Politicians connected to elites who anticipated benefiting from the 1866 Post Roads Act overcame the problem of collective action and passed pro-consumer legislation over the objections of a concentrated economic interest. Mancur Olson’s (1965, 1982) theory on the cost of collective action predicts a concentrated interest should prevail over dispersed consumers. Republicans took advantage of the exclusion of Southern Democrats from states that supported the Confederacy to push the act through over the vigorous objections of Western Union. Without the support of Republican politicians linked to economic and political elites who stood to benefit from the act, the pro-consumer 1866 Post Roads Act would have failed to pass in the United States Congress or Senate.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bethany CollegeBethanyUSA

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