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Direkte Demokratie und Menschenrechte


  • Gebhard Kirchgässner


There is a basic tension between the principle of democracy and the rule of law. This becomes obvious whenever the Swiss citizens accept an initiative that is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. First, we discuss the traditions behind these two principles before we survey the empirical papers about the relation between direct democracy and minority rights in the US as well as in Switzerland. Then we discuss the literature on the relation between direct democracy and death penalty. There, the conflict becomes rather obvious. Solutions, which will always involve compromises between these two principles, necessitate some role of the Supreme Court, at the cost of some, but only minor limitations of direct popular rights.

Suggested Citation

  • Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2009. "Direkte Demokratie und Menschenrechte," CREMA Working Paper Series 2009-18, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  • Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2009-18

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pommerehne, Werner W., 1978. "Institutional approaches to public expenditure : Empirical evidence from Swiss municipalities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 255-280, April.
    2. Lupia, Arthur & Krupnikov, Yanna & Levine, Adam Seth & Piston, Spencer & Hagen-Jamae, Alexander von, 2009. "Why State Constitutions Differ in their Treatment of Same-Sex Marriage," MPRA Paper 15096, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Kubik, Jeffrey D & Moran, John R, 2003. "Lethal Elections: Gubernatorial Politics and the Timing of Executions," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(1), pages 1-25, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2010. "Direkte Demokratie," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2010 2010-26, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.

    More about this item


    Direct Democracy; Human Rights; Constitution; Rule of Law;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures
    • H74 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Borrowing

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