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For the Many or the Few

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  • Matsusaka, John G.

Abstract

Direct democracy is alive and well in the United States. Citizens are increasingly using initiatives and referendums to take the law into their own hands, overriding their elected officials to set tax, expenditure, and social policies. John G. Matsusaka's For the Many or the Few provides the first even-handed and historically based treatment of the subject. Drawing upon a century of evidence, Matsusaka argues against the popular belief that initiative measures are influenced by wealthy special interest groups that neglect the majority view. Examining demographic, political, and opinion data, he demonstrates how the initiative process brings about systematic changes in tax and expenditure policies of state and local governments that are generally supported by the citizens. He concludes that, by and large, direct democracy in the form of the initiative process works for the benefit of the many rather than the few. An unprecedented, comprehensive look at the historical, empirical, and theoretical components of how initiatives function within our representative democracy to increase political competition while avoiding the tyranny of the majority, For the Many or the Few is a most timely and definitive work.

Suggested Citation

  • Matsusaka, John G., 2004. "For the Many or the Few," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226510811, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:bkecon:9780226510811
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    Cited by:

    1. Casella, Alessandra & Ehrenberg, Shuky & Gelman, Andrew & Shen, Jie, 2008. "Protecting Minorities in Binary Elections. A Test of Storable Votes Using Field Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 6851, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Kyle D. Dell, 2009. "The Grassroots Are Greener: Democratic Participation and Environmental Policies in State Politics," Review of Policy Research, Policy Studies Organization, vol. 26(6), pages 699-727, November.
    3. Hug, Simon & Spörri, Franziska, 2011. "Referendums, trust, and tax evasion," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 120-131, March.
    4. 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.

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