Do Direct-Democratic Procedures Lead to Higher Acceptance Than Political Representation?

Public Choice, 2016

21 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2020

See all articles by Emanuel V. Towfigh

Emanuel V. Towfigh

EBS Law School; Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods

Date Written: May 11, 2016

Abstract

Are direct-democratic decisions more acceptable to voters than decisions arrived at through representative procedures? We conduct an experimental online vignette study with a German sample to investigate how voters’ acceptance of a political decision depends on the process through which it is reached. For a set of different issues, we investigate how acceptance varies depending on whether the decision is the result of a direct-democratic institution, a party in a representative democracy, or an expert committee. Our results show that for important issues, direct democracy generates greater acceptance; this finding holds particularly for those voters who do not agree with a collectively chosen outcome. However, if the topic is of limited importance to the voters, acceptance does not differ between the mechanisms. Our results imply that a combination of representative democracy and direct democracy, conditional on the distribution of issue importance among the electorate, may be optimal with regard to acceptance of political decisions.

Keywords: Behavioral Law and Economics, Empirical Legal Studies, Political Economy, Political Parties, Publications

Suggested Citation

Towfigh, Emanuel V., Do Direct-Democratic Procedures Lead to Higher Acceptance Than Political Representation? (May 11, 2016). Public Choice, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3623778

Emanuel V. Towfigh (Contact Author)

EBS Law School ( email )

Gustav-Stresemann-Ring 3
Wiesbaden, 65189
Germany
+49 611 7102-2253 (Phone)
+49 611 7102-10-2253 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.lehrstuhl-towfigh.de

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods ( email )

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Germany
+49 228 91416-30 (Phone)
+49 228 91416-930 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.coll.mpg.de/team/page/emanuel_towfigh

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