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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Non-inclusive and non-deliberative : initiatives and referenda in comparative perspective Ellis, Anthony


Initiatives and referenda may have deleterious effects on representative democracy in two ways. First, they may lead to outcomes that are not inclusive. Second, they undermine deliberation by providing binary choices. A most different systems methodology is used to explore the effect initiatives and referenda have on democracy in Washington State and Switzerland. It relies on the works of theorists of democratization, the existing comparative literature on referenda and initiatives, and contributions from scholars in fields outside political science such as biology and law. It concludes with a review of potential alternative institutions that reduce democratic deficits while mitigating the exclusionary risks posed by direct democratic mechanisms.

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