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Democracy, Institutions and Attitudes about Citizen Influence on Government

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  • BOWLER, SHAUN
  • DONOVAN, TODD

Abstract

Theorists such as Carole Pateman and Benjamin Barber suggest that democratic participation will engage citizens and lead them to have more positive regard for political processes and democratic practices. The American states provide a setting where provisions for direct voter participation in legislation vary substantially. If participatory institutions have an ‘educative role’ that shapes perceptions of government, then citizens exposed to direct democracy may be more likely to claim they understand politics and be more likely to perceive that they are capable of participation. They may also be more likely to perceive that government is responsive to them. We merge data on state-level political institutions with data from the 1992 American National Election Study to test these hypotheses with OLS models. Our primary hypotheses find support. We present evidence that the effects of exposure to direct democracy on internal and external political efficacy rival the effects of formal education.

Suggested Citation

  • Bowler, Shaun & Donovan, Todd, 2002. "Democracy, Institutions and Attitudes about Citizen Influence on Government," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(2), pages 371-390, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:bjposi:v:32:y:2002:i:02:p:371-390_00
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    Cited by:

    1. Scott J. LaCombe & Courtney Juelich, 2019. "Salient Ballot Measures and the Millennial Vote," Politics and Governance, Cogitatio Press, vol. 7(2), pages 198-212.
    2. Joshua J. Dyck & Nicholas R. Seabrook, 2010. "Mobilized by Direct Democracy: Short‐Term Versus Long‐Term Effects and the Geography of Turnout in Ballot Measure Elections," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 91(1), pages 188-208, March.
    3. Alexander F. Wagner & Mathias Dufour & Friedrich Schneider, 2003. "Satisfaction not Guaranteed - Institutions and Satisfaction with Democracy in Western Europe," CESifo Working Paper Series 910, CESifo.
    4. Borgonovi, Francesca & Pokropek, Artur, 2017. "Mind that gap: The mediating role of intelligence and individuals' socio-economic status in explaining disparities in external political efficacy in 28 countries," Intelligence, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 125-137.
    5. Wohlgemuth, Michael & Sideras, Jörn, 2004. "Globalisability of Universalisability? How to apply the Generality Principle and Constitutionalism internationally," Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics 04/7, Walter Eucken Institut e.V..
    6. Benjamin Radcliff & Gregory Shufeldt, 2016. "Direct Democracy and Subjective Well-Being: The Initiative and Life Satisfaction in the American States," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 128(3), pages 1405-1423, September.
    7. Russell Hillberry, 2007. "Demographics, ideology and voting behaviour:A factor analysis of state-wide ballot measures," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1021, The University of Melbourne.
    8. Ali Abdelzadeh, 2014. "The Impact of Political Conviction on the Relation Between Winning or Losing and Political Dissatisfaction," SAGE Open, , vol. 4(2), pages 21582440145, May.
    9. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, "undated". "Direct Democracy: Designing a Living Constitution," IEW - Working Papers 167, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    10. Scharfenkamp, Katrin, 2013. "Composition effects of the German Federal Government on the average top income tax burden," Discussion Papers of the Institute for Organisational Economics 2/2013, University of Münster, Institute for Organisational Economics.
    11. Matthias Fatke, 2013. "Participation and Political Equality in Direct Democracy: Educative Effect or Social Bias," University of Bern Social Sciences Working Papers 3, University of Bern, Department of Social Sciences.
    12. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, "undated". "The Role of Direct Democracy and Federalism in Local Power," IEW - Working Papers 209, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    13. Wagner, Alexander F. & Schneider, Friedrich & Halla, Martin, 2009. "The quality of institutions and satisfaction with democracy in Western Europe -- A panel analysis," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 30-41, March.
    14. Anna Kern, 2017. "The Effect of Direct Democratic Participation on Citizens’ Political Attitudes in Switzerland: The Difference between Availability and Use," Politics and Governance, Cogitatio Press, vol. 5(2), pages 16-26.
    15. Frey, Bruno S., 2004. "Direct Democracy for a Living Constitution," Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics 04/5, Walter Eucken Institut e.V..

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