IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/kap/pubcho/v140y2009i3p431-461.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The economic effects of direct democracy—a first global assessment

Author

Listed:
  • Lorenz Blume
  • Jens Müller
  • Stefan Voigt

Abstract

This is the first study that assesses the economic effects of direct democratic institutions on a cross country basis. Its results are based on up to six new measures produced to reflect the legislative basis for using direct democratic institutions as well as their factual use. In addition, a more general overall indicator is used. On the basis of these two different data sets only some of the results of the former intra-country studies are confirmed. An analysis based on the more general democracy index for 87 countries shows that a higher degree of direct democracy leads to lower budget deficits and higher government effectiveness. The effects on government expenditure, corruption and productivity have the expected signs but do not reach conventional levels of significance. A more fine grained analysis for a cross section of 88 countries based on the second data set shows that institutional detail matters a great deal. In particular, the mere possibility of drawing on direct-democratic institutions is often not sufficient to induce significant effects whereas the frequency of their factual use has a number of substantive effects on economic variables.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:140:y:2009:i:3:p:431-461
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-009-9429-8
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11127-009-9429-8
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1007/s11127-009-9429-8?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Frey, Bruno S & Stutzer, Alois, 2000. "Happiness, Economy and Institutions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(466), pages 918-938, October.
    2. Roubini, Nouriel & Sachs, Jeffrey D., 1989. "Political and economic determinants of budget deficits in the industrial democracies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 903-933, May.
    3. James E. Alt & David Dreyer Lassen, 2003. "The Political Economy of Institutions and Corruption in American States," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 15(3), pages 341-365, July.
    4. 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, April.
    5. 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 619-650, October.
    6. 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.
    7. Anne van Aaken & Lars P. Feld & Stefan Voigt, 2008. "Power over Prosecutors Corrupts Politicians: Cross Country Evidence Using a New Indicator," MAGKS Papers on Economics 200801, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    8. Nouriel Roubini & Jeffrey Sachs, 1988. "Political and Economic Determinants of Budget Deficits in the IndustrialDemocracies," NBER Working Papers 2682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Nadia Fiorino & Roberto Ricciuti, 2007. "Determinants of Direct Democracy," CESifo Working Paper Series 2035, CESifo.
    10. Blomberg, S. Brock & Hess, Gregory D. & Weerapana, Akila, 2004. "The impact of voter initiatives on economic activity," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 207-226, March.
    11. 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 161-170, July.
    12. Frey, Bruno S, 1994. "Direct Democracy: Politico-economic Lessons from Swiss Experience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 338-342, May.
    13. Beck, Thorsten & Clarke, George & Groff, Alberto & Keefer, Philip & Walsh, Patrick, 2000. "New tools and new tests in comparative political economy - the database of political institutions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2283, The World Bank.
    14. Mueller,Dennis C., 2003. "Public Choice III," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521894753, February.
    15. Matsusaka, John G & McCarty, Nolan M, 2001. "Political Resource Allocation: Benefits and Costs of Voter Initiatives," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(2), pages 413-448, October.
    16. 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.
    17. Feld, Lars P. & Voigt, Stefan, 2003. "Economic growth and judicial independence: cross-country evidence using a new set of indicators," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 497-527, September.
    18. John G. Matsusaka, 2005. "Direct Democracy Works," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(2), pages 185-206, Spring.
    19. Feld, Lars P & Savioz, Marcel R, 1997. "Direct Democracy Matters for Economic Performance: An Empirical Investigation," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(4), pages 507-538.
    20. 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.
    21. Torgler, Benno, 2005. "Tax morale and direct democracy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 525-531, June.
    22. Jessica Seddon Wallack & Alejandro Gaviria & Ugo Panizza & Ernesto Stein, 2003. "Particularism around the World," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(1), pages 133-143, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Stefan Voigt, 2011. "Positive constitutional economics II—a survey of recent developments," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 146(1), pages 205-256, January.
    2. Stefan Voigt & Lorenz Blume, "undated". "The Economic Effects of Direct Democracy - A Cross-Country Assessment," German Working Papers in Law and Economics 2006-1-1144, Berkeley Electronic Press.
    3. Lars Feld, 2005. "The European constitution project from the perspective of constitutional political economy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 122(3), pages 417-448, March.
    4. 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.
    5. Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2010. "Direkte Demokratie," CREMA Working Paper Series 2010-16, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    6. Lars P. Feld & Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2005. "Sustainable Fiscal Policy in a Federal System: Switzerland as an Example," Palgrave Macmillan Books, in: Hanspeter Kriesi & Peter Farago & Martin Kohli & Milad Zarin-Nejadan (ed.), Contemporary Switzerland, chapter 12, pages 281-296, Palgrave Macmillan.
    7. Désirée Teobaldelli & Friedrich Schneider, 2013. "The influence of direct democracy on the shadow economy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 157(3), pages 543-567, December.
    8. Lars P. Feld & Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2003. "The Role of Direct Democracy in the European Union," CESifo Working Paper Series 1083, CESifo.
    9. Friedrich Schneider & Désirée Teobaldelli, 2012. "Beyond the Veil of Ignorance: The Influence of Direct Democracy on the Shadow Economy," CESifo Working Paper Series 3749, CESifo.
    10. Agnese Sacchi & Aline Pennisi, 2013. "Is direct democracy a problem or a promise for fiscal outcomes? The case of the United States," Departmental Working Papers of Economics - University 'Roma Tre' 0178, Department of Economics - University Roma Tre.
    11. Aguiar-Conraria, Luís & Magalhães, Pedro C., 2010. "How quorum rules distort referendum outcomes: Evidence from a pivotal voter model," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 541-557, December.
    12. Lars P. Feld & Justina A.V. Fischer & Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2010. "The Effect Of Direct Democracy On Income Redistribution: Evidence For Switzerland," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(4), pages 817-840, October.
    13. John Matsusaka, 2005. "The eclipse of legislatures: Direct democracy in the 21st century," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 124(1), pages 157-177, July.
    14. Gebhard Kirchgassner, 2002. "The effects of fiscal institutions on public finance: a survey of the empirical evidence," Chapters, in: Stanley L. Winer & Hirofumi Shibata (ed.), Political Economy and Public Finance, chapter 9, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    15. Pascal Langenbach & Franziska Tausch, 2019. "Inherited Institutions: Cooperation in the Light of Democratic Legitimacy," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(2), pages 364-393.
    16. Seebauer, Michael, 2015. "Does direct democracy foster efficient policies? An experimental investigation of costly initiatives," FAU Discussion Papers in Economics 01/2015, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Institute for Economics.
    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. Nadia Fiorino & Roberto Ricciuti, 2007. "Determinants of Direct Democracy," CESifo Working Paper Series 2035, CESifo.
    19. Arvanitidis Paschalis A. & Kyriazis Nicholas C., 2013. "Democracy and Public Choice in Classical Athens," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 19(2), pages 213-248, August.
    20. Zareh Asatryan, 2016. "The indirect effects of direct democracy: local government size and non-budgetary voter initiatives in Germany," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(3), pages 580-601, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Direct democracy; Economic effects of constitutions; Positive constitutional economics;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General
    • H80 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - General

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:140:y:2009:i:3:p:431-461. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Sonal Shukla or Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.