IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/kap/pubcho/v162y2015i1p43-56.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Signature requirements and citizen initiatives: Quasi-experimental evidence from Germany

Author

Listed:
  • Felix Arnold

    ()

  • Ronny Freier

    ()

Abstract

Signature requirements are often used as hurdles to prevent overuse of direct democratic instruments such as citizen initiatives. We evaluate the causal effect of lowering signature requirements on the number of observed citizen initiative petitions. Based on municipal-level data for Germany, we make use of changes in signature requirements that occur at specific population thresholds to build an identification strategy using a regression discontinuity design. We find that reducing the signature requirement by 1 % point increases the probability of observing an initiative petition in a given city-year by 8–10 % points. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Felix Arnold & Ronny Freier, 2015. "Signature requirements and citizen initiatives: Quasi-experimental evidence from Germany," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 162(1), pages 43-56, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:162:y:2015:i:1:p:43-56
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-014-0189-8
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11127-014-0189-8
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

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

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Felix Arnold & Ronny Freier, 2013. "Signature Requirements and Citizen Initiatives: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1311, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    2. 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.
    3. Stephan Litschig & Kevin Morrison, 2010. "Government spending and re-election: Quasi-experimental evidence from Brazilian municipalities," Economics Working Papers 1233, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jun 2012.
    4. Pettersson-Lidbom, Per, 2012. "Does the size of the legislature affect the size of government? Evidence from two natural experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 269-278.
    5. Ferraz, Claudio & Finan, Frederico S., 2008. "Motivating Politicians: The Impacts of Monetary Incentives on Quality and Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 3411, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Björn Tyrefors Hinnerich & Per Pettersson‐Lidbom, 2014. "Democracy, Redistribution, and Political Participation: Evidence From Sweden 1919–1938," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82(3), pages 961-993, May.
    7. Thomas Romer & Howard Rosenthal, 1978. "Political resource allocation, controlled agendas, and the status quo," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 27-43, December.
    8. Patricia Funk & Christina Gathmann, 2011. "Does Direct Democracy Reduce the Size of Government? New Evidence from Historical Data, 1890–2000," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(557), pages 1252-1280, December.
    9. Guido Imbens & Karthik Kalyanaraman, 2012. "Optimal Bandwidth Choice for the Regression Discontinuity Estimator," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(3), pages 933-959.
    10. Zareh Asatryan & Thushyanthan Baskaran & Theocharis Grigoriadis & Friedrich Heinemann, 2017. "Direct Democracy and Local Public Finances under Cooperative Federalism," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 119(3), pages 801-820, July.
    11. Lorenz Blume & Thomas Döring & Stefan Voigt, 2011. "Fiscal Effects of Reforming Local Constitutions," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 48(10), pages 2123-2140, August.
    12. Stefano Gagliarducci & Tommaso Nannicini, 2013. "Do Better Paid Politicians Perform Better? Disentangling Incentives From Selection," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 369-398, April.
    13. 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.
    14. Veronica Grembi & Tommaso Nannicini & Ugo Troiano, 2011. "Policy Responses to Fiscal Restraints: A Difference-in-Discontinuities Design," Working Papers 397, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    15. 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.
    16. Peter Egger & Marko Koethenbuerger, 2010. "Government Spending and Legislative Organization: Quasi-experimental Evidence from Germany," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 200-212, October.
    17. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
    18. John G. Matsusaka, 2005. "Direct Democracy Works," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(2), pages 185-206, Spring.
    19. 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.
    20. Florian Ade & Ronny Freier, 2011. "When Can We Trust Population Thresholds in Regression Discontinuity Designs?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1136, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    21. Funk, Patricia & Gathmann, Christina, 2013. "Voter preferences, direct democracy and government spending," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 300-319.
    22. Matsusaka, John G., 2010. "Popular Control of Public Policy: A Quantitative Approach," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 5(2), pages 133-167, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Felix Arnold & Ronny Freier & Magdalena Pallauf & David Stadelmann, 2016. "Voting for direct democratic participation: evidence from an initiative election," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(4), pages 716-740, August.
    2. 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.
    3. Baskaran, Thushyanthan & Lopes da Fonseca, Mariana, 2016. "Electoral competition and endogenous political institutions: Quasi-experimental evidence from Germany," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 43-61.
    4. Freier, Ronny & Geys, Benny & Holm, Joshua, 2016. "Religious heterogeneity and fiscal policy: Evidence from German reunification," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 1-12.
    5. repec:kap:pubcho:v:172:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11127-017-0460-x is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Zareh Asatryan & Annika Havlik & Frank Streif, 2017. "Vetoing and inaugurating policy like others do: evidence on spatial interactions in voter initiatives," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 172(3), pages 525-544, September.
    7. Kantorowicz, Jarosław, 2017. "Electoral systems and fiscal policy outcomes: Evidence from Poland," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 36-60.
    8. repec:eee:juecon:v:106:y:2018:i:c:p:46-58 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Thorsten Martin & Felix Arnold & Ronny Freier, 2015. "(Not) in my backyard? The impact of citizen initiatives on housing supply in Germany," ERSA conference papers ersa15p462, European Regional Science Association.
    10. Kristof De Witte & Benny Geys, 2015. "Strategic Housing Policy, Migration and Sorting around Population Thresholds," CESifo Working Paper Series 5639, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Signature requirements; Citizen initiatives; Municipality data; Regression discontinuity design; H0; H11; H79;

    JEL classification:

    • H0 - Public Economics - - General
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H79 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Other

    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:162:y:2015:i:1:p:43-56. 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: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). 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 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.

    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.