Public Choice

, Volume 174, Issue 1–2, pp 81–106 | Cite as

The politics of beer: analysis of the congressional votes on the beer bill of 1933

  • Eline Poelmans
  • John A. Dove
  • Jason E. Taylor


Nine days after he took office in March 1933, Franklin Roosevelt asked Congress to amend existing federal Prohibition policy so as to allow for the sale and consumption of 3.2% alcohol beer. Over the following 8 days, the so-called “beer bill” was proposed, debated, passed and signed into law. This study analyzes the political decision making behind one of FDR’s earliest New Deal policies. Specifically, we consider how voter preferences, representatives’ ideologies, national party affiliations, and the influence of special interests affected legislative decision making. We find that special interests and party affiliations were particularly important drivers of congressional voting behavior.


Beer legalization Prohibition Special interests Median voter Representative ideology New Deal Franklin Roosevelt 

Supplementary material

11127_2017_493_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (19 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 18 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eline Poelmans
    • 1
  • John A. Dove
    • 2
  • Jason E. Taylor
    • 3
  1. 1.LICOS Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, Faculty of Economics and Business, Campus BrusselsKU LeuvenBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political EconomyTroy UniversityTroyUSA
  3. 3.Department of EconomicsCentral Michigan UniversityMount PleasantUSA

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