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Free Content The input and output effects of direct democracy: a new research agenda

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Based on a wide-ranging review of the existing literature, this article provides an original, state-of-the-art analysis of the field of direct democracy. Distinguishing between the ‘input’ and ‘output’ effects of direct democracy, the article identifies the main empirical insights and normative arguments regarding voter competence, turnout, the influence of special interests, agenda setting and policy change. At the same time, the article draws attention to a number of hitherto understudied issues, and makes a series of theoretical, methodological and empirical recommendations to advance the field of study. In particular, it argues that insufficient attention has been given to the link between direct democracy and policy implementation. Finally, and most ambitiously, the paper calls for a radical new theory of direct democratic voting behaviour that draws upon insights developed in the field of electoral studies to explain why voters choose a ballot proposal in direct democratic votes.
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Keywords: ballot votes; initiative; input; output; participation; referendum; representative democracy; voters

Affiliations: 1: University of Bern, Switzerland 2: University of Zurich, Switzerland

Appeared or available online: 09 March 2018

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