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Power Sharing at the Local Level: Evidence on Opting-In for Non-Citizen Voting Rights

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  • Stutzer, Alois

    (University of Basel)

  • Slotwinski, Michaela

    (University of Basel)

Abstract

The enfranchisement of foreigners is likely one of the most controversial frontiers of institutional change in developed democracies, which are experiencing an increasing number of non-citizen residents. We study the conditions under which citizens are willing to share power. To this end, we exploit the unique setting of the Swiss canton of Grisons, where municipalities are free to decide on the introduction of non-citizen voting rights at the local level (a so called opting-in regime). Consistent with the power dilution hypothesis, we find that enfranchisement is less likely the larger the share of resident foreigners. Moreover, municipalities with a large language/cultural minority are less likely to formally involve foreigners. In contrast, municipality mergers seem to act as an institutional catalyst, promoting democratic reforms. A supplementary panel analysis on electoral support for an opting-in regime in the canton of Zurich also backs the power dilution hypothesis, showing that a larger share of foreigners reduces support for a regime change.

Suggested Citation

  • Stutzer, Alois & Slotwinski, Michaela, 2019. "Power Sharing at the Local Level: Evidence on Opting-In for Non-Citizen Voting Rights," Working papers 2019/19, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
  • Handle: RePEc:bsl:wpaper:2019/19
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    Cited by:

    1. Anna Maria Koukal & Reiner Eichenberger & Patricia Schafera, 2019. "Enfranchising Foreigners: What Drives Natives’ Willingness to Share Power?," CREMA Working Paper Series 2019-10, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    2. Gonnot, Jérôme, 2020. "Taxation with Representation: The Political Economy of Foreigners’ Voting Rights," TSE Working Papers 20-1077, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    non-citizen voting rights; opting-in; power sharing; democratization;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • K16 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Election Law

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