The Effects of Direct Democratic Institutions on the Political Process - Much Ado About (Almost) Nothing?
33 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2009 Last revised: 19 Jul 2010
Date Written: November 16, 2009
It has been shown that both formal existence and actual use of direct democratic institutions have effects on a number of variables such as fiscal policies, quality of governance but also economic growth. Further, it has been argued that direct democratic institutions do not only impact upon the incentives and the behavior of politicians but also those of citizens: If they are involved in concrete issues, they would have incentives to get informed, would use that information to deliberate amongst each other and so on. Direct democratic institutions would thus not only have an impact on the outcomes of the political process but influence that very process. We test these conjectures and find that voter turnout remains unaffected by direct democratic institutions, that the number of initiatives is positively correlated with an interest in politics and political action such as signing a petition and that the formal possibility of initiatives is negatively correlated with trust in political organizations such as government, parties and parliament.
Keywords: Direct Democracy, Political Process, Voter Turnout, Confidence in political system, legitimacy
JEL Classification: H1, H3, H5, H8
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation