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Direkte Demokratie

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  • Gebhard Kirchgässner

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Abstract

First, the institutions of direct democracy, referendum and initiative, are described. One of the main arguments against direct political rights is that citizens are often, or even generally, not enough informed or even incompetent to decide on important political issues. Therefore, the problem of acquiring and processing information is discussed, comparing direct with purely representative democratic systems. The political outcome has to show whether direct political rights serve the interests of the citizens. Thus, the results of empirical studies investigating the effects of direct democracy are reported. These studies mainly consider Switzerland and the United States, and they concentrate on the economic outcomes which are on average favourable. Nevertheless, there are (or at least can be) problems by conceding these rights which should not be overlooked. The paper concludes with a critical discussion of some popular arguments (raised in particular in Germany) against direct democracy as well as the possibilities resulting from the new electronic media

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen in its series University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2010 with number 2010-26.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:usg:dp2010:2010-26

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Keywords: Democracy; Information; Human Rights; Political Reforms; Switzerland; United States;

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References

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  1. Feld, Lars P. & Schaltegger, Christoph A. & Schnellenbach, Jan, 2008. "On government centralization and fiscal referendums," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 611-645, May.
  2. Lorenz Blume & Jens Müller & Stefan Voigt, 2009. "The economic effects of direct democracy—a first global assessment," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 140(3), pages 431-461, September.
  3. Lars P. Feld & Bruno S. Frey, 2000. "Trust Breeds Trust: How Taxpayers are Treated," CESifo Working Paper Series 322, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Pommerehne, Werner W., 1978. "Institutional approaches to public expenditure : Empirical evidence from Swiss municipalities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 255-280, April.
  5. Matsusaka, John G, 1995. "Fiscal Effects of the Voter Initiative: Evidence from the Last 30 Years," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 587-623, June.
  6. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2000. "Happiness, Economy and Institutions," CESifo Working Paper Series 246, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Blomberg, S.B. & Hess, G.D., 1999. "The Impact of Voter Initiatives on Economic Activity," Papers 99-11, Wellesley College - Department of Economics.
  8. Feld, Lars P & Savioz, Marcel R, 1997. "Direct Democracy Matters for Economic Performance: An Empirical Investigation," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(4), pages 507-38.
  9. Feld, Lars P & Kirchgassner, Gebhard, 2001. " Does Direct Democracy Reduce Public Debt? Evidence from Swiss Municipalities," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 109(3-4), pages 347-70, December.
  10. Lars P. Feld & Gebhard Kirchgaessner & Christoph A. Schaltegger, 2010. "Decentralized Taxation and the Size of Government: Evidence from Swiss State and Local Governments," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 27-48, July.
  11. Matthias Benz & Alois Stutzer, 2004. "Are Voters Better Informed When They Have a Larger Say in Politics? -- Evidence for the European Union and Switzerland," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 119(1_2), pages 31-59, 04.
  12. Pommerehne, Werner W & Weck-Hannemann, Hannelore, 1996. " Tax Rates, Tax Administration and Income Tax Evasion in Switzerland," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 88(1-2), pages 161-70, July.
  13. Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2009. "Direkte Demokratie und Menschenrechte," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2009 2009-27, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  14. Lars P. Feld & Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2004. "The Role of Direct Democracy in the European Union," Marburg Working Papers on Economics 200423, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  15. Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2008. "Direct democracy: obstacle to reform?," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 81-93, June.
  16. Kiewiet, D Roderick & Szakaly, Kristin, 1996. "Constitutional Limitations on Borrowing: An Analysis of State Bonded Indebtedness," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 62-97, April.
  17. Feld, Lars P. & Matsusaka, John G., 2003. "Budget referendums and government spending: evidence from Swiss cantons," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2703-2724, December.
  18. Matsusaka, John G, 2000. "Fiscal Effects of the Voter Initiative in the First Half of the Twentieth Century," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(2), pages 619-50, October.
  19. David Dorn & Justina Fischer & Gebhard Kirchgässner & Alfonso Sousa-Poza, 2008. "Direct democracy and life satisfaction revisited: new evidence for Switzerland," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 227-255, June.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Christoph A. Schaltegger & Lars P. Feld, 2004. "Do Large Cabinets Favor Large Governments? Evidence from Swiss Sub-federal Jurisdictions," CREMA Working Paper Series 2004-15, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  2. Christoph A. Schaltegger & Lars P. Feld, 2001. "On Government Centralization and Budget Referendums: Evidence from Switzerland," CESifo Working Paper Series 615, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Bruno Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2006. "Strengthening the citizens' role in international organizations," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 27-43, March.
  4. Lars P. Feld & Bruno S. Frey, 2000. "Trust Breeds Trust: How Taxpayers are Treated," CESifo Working Paper Series 322, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2001. "Beyond Bentham – Measuring Procedural Utility," CESifo Working Paper Series 492, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Bruno S. Frey & Marcel Kucher & Alois Stutzer, 1999. "Outcome, Process & Power in Direct Democracy," CESifo Working Paper Series 222, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Lars P. Feld & Jan Schnellenbach & Christoph A Schaltegger, 2004. "On Government Centralization and Fiscal Referendums: A Theoretical Model and Evidence from Switzerland," Marburg Working Papers on Economics 200419, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  8. Mark Schelker & Reiner Eichenberger, 2003. "Starke Rechnungsprüfungskommissionen: Wichtiger als direkte Demokratie und Föderalismus? Ein erster Blick auf die Daten," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 139(III), pages 351-373, September.
  9. Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2002. "Auswirkungen der direkten Demokratie auf die öffentlichen Finanzen: Empirische Ergebnisse für die Schweiz," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 138(IV), pages 411-426, December.

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