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Do direct-democratic procedures lead to higher acceptance than political representation?

Listed author(s):
  • Emanuel V. Towfigh

    ()

    (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods
    EBS University for Business and Law)

  • Sebastian J. Goerg

    (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods
    Florida State University)

  • Andreas Glöckner

    (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods
    University of Hagen)

  • Philip Leifeld

    (University of Glasgow
    Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag)
    University of Bern)

  • Aniol Llorente-Saguer

    (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods
    Queen Mary University of London)

  • Sophie Bade

    (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods
    Royal Holloway University of London)

  • Carlos Kurschilgen

    (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods)

Abstract Are direct-democratic decisions more acceptable to voters than decisions arrived at through representative procedures? We conduct an experimental online vignette study with a German sample to investigate how voters’ acceptance of a political decision depends on the process through which it is reached. For a set of different issues, we investigate how acceptance varies depending on whether the decision is the result of a direct-democratic institution, a party in a representative democracy, or an expert committee. Our results show that for important issues, direct democracy generates greater acceptance; this finding holds particularly for those voters who do not agree with a collectively chosen outcome. However, if the topic is of limited importance to the voters, acceptance does not differ between the mechanisms. Our results imply that a combination of representative democracy and direct democracy, conditional on the distribution of issue importance among the electorate, may be optimal with regard to acceptance of political decisions.

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File URL: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s11127-016-0330-y
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 167 (2016)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 47-65

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Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:167:y:2016:i:1:d:10.1007_s11127-016-0330-y
DOI: 10.1007/s11127-016-0330-y
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springer.com

Order Information: Web: http://www.springer.com/economics/public+finance/journal/11127/PS2

References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Becker, Gary S., 1978. "The Economic Approach to Human Behavior," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 0, number 9780226041124, April.
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