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Why is Swiss Politics so Stable?

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  • Peter Moser

Abstract

Applying rational choice approaches of politics, I analyze why major policy changes are unlikely to occur in the Swiss political system. Legislative decision rules create durable policies by the combination of the bicameral system with the optional referendum. In contrast to normative conceptions, legislative acts tend to be more difficult to change than constitutional provisions, in spite of the qualified majority rule and the single issue requirement for constitutional amendments. Furthermore, the dominance of conservative groups in Swiss politics can be explained by the optional referendum. It is an instrument suited only for conservative groups. However, I show that this instrument is beneficial for voters.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Moser, 1996. "Why is Swiss Politics so Stable?," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 132(I), pages 31-61, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:ses:arsjes:1996-i-2
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    Cited by:

    1. Lars P. Feld & Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2003. "The Role of Direct Democracy in the European Union," CESifo Working Paper Series 1083, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Lars P. Feld & Gebhard Kirchgassner, 1999. "Public Debt and Budgetary Procedures: Top Down or Bottom Up? Some Evidence from Swiss Municipalities," NBER Chapters,in: Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance, pages 151-180 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. 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.
    4. Moser, Peter, 1999. "Checks and balances, and the supply of central bank independence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(8), pages 1569-1593, August.
    5. Feld, Lars P. & Kirchgassner, Gebhard, 2000. "Direct democracy, political culture, and the outcome of economic policy: a report on the Swiss experience," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 287-306, June.
    6. Moser, Peter, 1999. "The impact of legislative institutions on public policy: a survey," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 1-33, March.
    7. Christina ZENKER, 2015. "Veto Power and Wealth: Analysis of the Development of the Swiss Old Age Security," Journal of Economics Library, KSP Journals, vol. 2(2), pages 79-92, June.
    8. Klaus Zimmermann & Tobias Just, 2000. "Interest Groups, Referenda, and the Political Process: On the Efficiency of Direct Democracy," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 147-163, June.
    9. Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2008. "Direct democracy: obstacle to reform?," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 81-93, June.

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