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Die Entwicklung der Sozialpolitik in repräsentativen und in direkten Demokratien: Königsweg oder Sackgasse? Einige Bemerkungen aus der "Public Choice"-Perspektive


  • Friedrich Schneider


The purpose of this study is to provide some information how different political institutions influence the development of social security policies. In representative democracies governments quite often use an expansion of the social security policies for their own selfish purposes. Voters are in favour of such a widening of social security programmes as long as the burden of financing is not very visible. If the burden of taxation becomes visible and the government has to reduce its expenditures, no group of voters wants to carry the well visible and painful reductions of spending programmes, especially when the whole electorate benefits from tax rates, which are not increased further (or they may even be lower). Citizens in direct democracies have more possibilities to influence policy questions, e.g. in a referendum over a change in the government's policy. The empirical investigation of two referenda proposals concerning the future development of the Swiss social security system demonstrates that the decision of the electorate was based on various short and long term considerations. Hence, the introduction of the political institutions of the referendum can give the voters/taxpayers more (and hopefully better) possibilities to express their preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Friedrich Schneider, 1999. "Die Entwicklung der Sozialpolitik in repräsentativen und in direkten Demokratien: Königsweg oder Sackgasse? Einige Bemerkungen aus der "Public Choice"-Perspektive," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 135(III), pages 387-406, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:ses:arsjes:1999-iii-10

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    Cited by:

    1. Anke Kessler, 2005. "Representative versus direct democracy: The role of informational asymmetries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 122(1), pages 9-38, January.
    2. Friedrich Schneider & Thomas Lenk, 2000. "Grundzüge der föderalen Finanzverfassung aus ökonomischer Perspektive: Trennsystem vs. Verbundsystem," Economics working papers 2000-16, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.

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