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

See all articles by Lorenz Blume

Lorenz Blume

Phillips University Marburg

Stefan Voigt

University of Hamburg - Institute of Law & Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: November 16, 2009

Abstract

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

Blume, Lorenz and Voigt, Stefan, The Effects of Direct Democratic Institutions on the Political Process - Much Ado About (Almost) Nothing? (November 16, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1507176 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1507176

Lorenz Blume

Phillips University Marburg ( email )

Am Plan 2
Marburg, D-35037
Germany

Stefan Voigt (Contact Author)

University of Hamburg - Institute of Law & Economics ( email )

Johnsallee 35
Hamburg, 20148
Germany
+49-40-428385782 (Phone)
+49-40-428386794 (Fax)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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