Ideology, Interest Groups, and the Repeal of the Corn Laws

  • Gary M. Anderson
  • Robert D. Tollison
Part of the Topics in Regulatory Economics and Policy book series (TREP, volume 1)


On March 27, 1846, the House of Commons voted to repeal the Corn Laws by a vote of 327 to 229 (Thomas, 1929, p. 57). The repeal of the import duties on corn (meaning cereals, including wheat, oats, and barley) was one of the most significant economic events of the nineteenth century. This action has long interested economists because it represents one of the few apparently unambiguous examples of the influence of economic theory, specifically, the theory of comparative advantage, on economic policy. Free trade policies were enacted by Parliament “in the end due to the devoted efforts of a few men who dedicated themselves to spread the message” of the relationship between free trade and economic efficiency (Hayek, 1978, p. 128).


Interest Group Cotton Textile Free Trade Real Wage Import Duty 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gary M. Anderson
  • Robert D. Tollison

There are no affiliations available

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