The Political Economy of Direct Democracy: A Survey

University of St. Gallen Dept. of Economics Discussion Paper No. 9807

39 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 1998  

Lars P. Feld

Walter Eucken Institute; University of Freiburg - College of Economics and Behavioral Sciences; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Gebhard Kirchgässner

Universität St. Gallen; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: June 1998

Abstract

Are political outcomes in democratic systems with referenda and initiatives stronger related to the preferences of the individual citizens than in purely representative systems? After present-ing the theoretical arguments related to the functioning and efficiency of initiatives and refer-enda, this paper surveys the results of empirical studies about the economic impact of direct democratic rules, especially on public fiscal policy, the efficiency of publicly provided goods, and gross domestic income. We also consider papers about the impact of tax payer revolts and about single referenda on different governmental levels. Over all, it is shown that the individ-ual preferences have a stronger impact in a direct democracy than in a purely representative system.

JEL Classification: H10

Suggested Citation

Feld, Lars P. and Kirchgässner, Gebhard, The Political Economy of Direct Democracy: A Survey (June 1998). University of St. Gallen Dept. of Economics Discussion Paper No. 9807. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=104679 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.104679

Lars P. Feld

Walter Eucken Institute ( email )

Goethestrasse 10
Freiburg im Breisgau, Baden-Württemberg D-79100
Germany

University of Freiburg - College of Economics and Behavioral Sciences ( email )

Freiburg, D-79085
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Gebhard Kirchgaessner (Contact Author)

Universität St. Gallen ( email )

SIAW, Bodanstrasse 8
CH-9000 St.Gallen
Switzerland
+41 71 224 23 47 (Phone)
+41 71 224 22 98 (Fax)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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