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The Role of Direct Democracy and Federalism in Local Power

  • Bruno S. Frey
  • Alois Stutzer

Alienation to politics weakens political competition and can undermine the acceptance and legitimacy of democracy as a political system. Governance and representation problems at the local level cause part of citizens’ lack of power and political alienation. Citizens have local power if they can influence the political process so that its outcomes are closer to their preferences and if they feel to be effective in the political sphere. In order to increase citizens’ local power, we emphasize the role of institutions of local governance. Local democratic governance is concerned about the relationship between citizens and local government institutions, political representatives and officials. This relationship is fundamentally shaped by the federal structure of a nation’s government and by the scope and depth of citizens’ participation possibilities in the political process.

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Paper provided by Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich in its series IEW - Working Papers with number 209.

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