Grover Cleveland against the Special Interests

“Grover Cleveland against the Special Interests” (with Stefanie Haeffele-Balch)

The Independent Review

Dr. Storr continues his research on Comparative Political Economy in “Grover Cleveland against Special Interests.” He and Ms. Stefanie Haeffele-Balch utilize a public choice lens to examine the actions taken by President Cleveland in the late 1800s. They find that President Cleveland contradicted public choice theory on several occasions by rebuffing special interests and not pursuing his own political interests when the opportunities presented themselves. However, they conclude by noting President Cleveland was not “the pure embodiment of classical liberalism” given his positions and efforts on other policies, which contributed to the growth of government power.


During his first presidential term (1885-89), Cleveland opposed the partisan “spoils system” in the civil service, private legislation to benefit particular constituents, federal disaster relief, and protectionism. Public choice theory provides an illuminating framework for examining the challenges he faced.

Order the article from The Independent Institute

Categories: Featured Publications