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The Role of Direct Democracy in the European Union

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  • Lars P. Feld

    (Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Philipps Universitaet Marburg)

  • Gebhard Kirchgässner

Abstract

In this paper, the introduction of direct-democratic decision-making in all EU decisions is considered when it is feasible without prohibitively increasing decision-making costs. We start with the contractarian argument that each constitution is a contract joining the citizens of a state and requires as such the explicit agreement of (a majority of) citizens. Thus, the future European Constitution as well as future changes of it should be decided by the European citizens. After a discussion of the pros and cons of direct democracy, the ability of direct democracy to help creating a European demos is discussed. Consequently, we propose a mandatory (required and binding) referendum on total and partial revisions of the European Constitution. In addition, we propose a constitutional initiative, a statutory and a general initiative as well as a fiscal referendum for financially important projects.

Suggested Citation

  • Lars P. Feld & Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2004. "The Role of Direct Democracy in the European Union," Marburg Working Papers on Economics 200423, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  • Handle: RePEc:mar:volksw:200423
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:got:cegedp:83 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Simon Hug & Tobias Schulz, 2007. "Referendums in the EU’s constitution building process," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 177-218, June.
    3. 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.
    4. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, "undated". "Direct Democracy: Designing a Living Constitution," IEW - Working Papers 167, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    5. Schneider, Friedrich G., 2009. "Is a Federal European Constitution for an enlarged European Union necessary? Some preliminary suggestions using public choice analysis," University of Göttingen Working Papers in Economics 83, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    6. Lars Feld, 2005. "The European constitution project from the perspective of constitutional political economy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 122(3), pages 417-448, March.
    7. Mariana Bode & Oliver Budzinski, 2005. "Competing Ways Towards International Antitrust: the WTO versus the ICN," Marburg Working Papers on Economics 200503, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    8. Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2015. "Direct Democracy: Chances and Challenges," CREMA Working Paper Series 2015-09, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    9. Dennis Mueller, 2005. "Constitutional political economy in the European Union," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 124(1), pages 57-73, July.
    10. Frey, Bruno S., 2004. "Direct Democracy for a Living Constitution," Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics 04/5, Walter Eucken Institut e.V..
    11. Seebauer, Michael, 2015. "Does direct democracy foster efficient policies? An experimental investigation of costly initiatives," FAU Discussion Papers in Economics 01/2015, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Institute for Economics.
    12. Maaser, Nicola & Napel, Stefan, 2012. "A note on the direct democracy deficit in two-tier voting," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 174-180.
    13. Wohlgemuth, Michael & Sideras, Jörn, 2004. "Globalisability of Universalisability? How to apply the Generality Principle and Constitutionalism internationally," Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics 04/7, Walter Eucken Institut e.V..
    14. Daniel Nientiedt, 2019. "Metaphysical justification for an economic constitution? Franz Böhm and the concept of natural law," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 114-129, March.
    15. Elisabetta Croci Angelini, 2007. "Resisting Globalization: Voting Power Indices and the National Interest in the EU Decision-making," Working Papers 08-2007, Macerata University, Department of Studies on Economic Development (DiSSE), revised Feb 2009.
    16. Brandi, Clara & Wohlgemuth, Michael, 2006. "Strategies of Flexible Integration and Enlargement of the European Union: a Club-theoretical and Constitutional Economics Perspective," Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics 06/7, Walter Eucken Institut e.V..

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Direct Democracy; Referenda; Initiatives.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation

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