Direct Democracy for Transition Countries

IEW Working Paper No. 165

39 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2003

Date Written: July 2003


Theoretical arguments and empirical evidence are advanced to bolster the claim that direct political participation via referenda and initiatives constitutes an advanced form of democracy with beneficial effects on Transition Countries. Direct democracy raises trust and honesty and improves social outcomes. Per capita incomes and subjective well-being are raised. Standard arguments against direct democracy (citizens' incompetence and lacking interest, danger of manipulation and emotionality, hindering progress and destroying civil rights, high cost) are rejected. Elements of direct democracy can be introduced at the national and local levels, and then proceeding further. Citizens should have the right to govern this process.

Keywords: Direct democracy, referenda, initiatives, political participation, citizens, democratic rights, transition economies

JEL Classification: H0, P2

Suggested Citation

Frey, Bruno S., Direct Democracy for Transition Countries (July 2003). IEW Working Paper No. 165, Available at SSRN: or

Bruno S. Frey (Contact Author)

CREMA ( email )

Südstrasse 11
Zurich, CH 8008
+41 44 380 00 78 (Phone)

University of Basel ( email )

Peter Merian-Weg 6
Basel, 4002

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