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Effects of government-initiated referendums

Olsson, Martin LU (2015) STVM25 20142
Department of Political Science
Abstract
This thesis asks the question “How do government-initiated local referendums affect citizens’ perceptions of democracy?”. In the theoretical discussion, direct democratic theory is found to be inadequate in studying the effects of government-initiated referendums. Since the referendums are government-initiated, that negates the important aspect of bypassing elites. The referendum democracy concept as a second theoretical view on referendums offered the perspective of referendums as people’s veto. However, also this concept adhered to the view that citizens are the main actors in a referendum process. Thus, theory which is more finely tuned to the power of elites was developed to study the effects government-initiated referendums may have... (More)
This thesis asks the question “How do government-initiated local referendums affect citizens’ perceptions of democracy?”. In the theoretical discussion, direct democratic theory is found to be inadequate in studying the effects of government-initiated referendums. Since the referendums are government-initiated, that negates the important aspect of bypassing elites. The referendum democracy concept as a second theoretical view on referendums offered the perspective of referendums as people’s veto. However, also this concept adhered to the view that citizens are the main actors in a referendum process. Thus, theory which is more finely tuned to the power of elites was developed to study the effects government-initiated referendums may have on citizens. The resulting hypothesis (Citizens who experience local referendums will grant their local government increased trust and legitimacy) was tested on the Swedish case of local referendums. Independently pooled survey data for the years 2002-2012 was employed measure over time. Logistic regression revealed that no relationships between experiencing a government-initiated referendum and more favourable perceptions of democracy were statistically significant. It is suggested that this might depend on the very nature of the referendums. By skewing the power in the favour of political representatives, citizens no longer feel as participants in shaping policy. (Less)
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author
Olsson, Martin LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
A study of how Swedish citizens perceive democracy after experiencing government-initiated local referendums
course
STVM25 20142
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Referendum, Government-initiated referendum, Perceptions of democracy, Direct democracy, Referendum democracy
language
English
id
4925407
date added to LUP
2015-02-28 17:18:46
date last changed
2015-02-28 17:18:46
@misc{4925407,
  abstract     = {This thesis asks the question “How do government-initiated local referendums affect citizens’ perceptions of democracy?”. In the theoretical discussion, direct democratic theory is found to be inadequate in studying the effects of government-initiated referendums. Since the referendums are government-initiated, that negates the important aspect of bypassing elites. The referendum democracy concept as a second theoretical view on referendums offered the perspective of referendums as people’s veto. However, also this concept adhered to the view that citizens are the main actors in a referendum process. Thus, theory which is more finely tuned to the power of elites was developed to study the effects government-initiated referendums may have on citizens. The resulting hypothesis (Citizens who experience local referendums will grant their local government increased trust and legitimacy) was tested on the Swedish case of local referendums. Independently pooled survey data for the years 2002-2012 was employed measure over time. Logistic regression revealed that no relationships between experiencing a government-initiated referendum and more favourable perceptions of democracy were statistically significant. It is suggested that this might depend on the very nature of the referendums. By skewing the power in the favour of political representatives, citizens no longer feel as participants in shaping policy.},
  author       = {Olsson, Martin},
  keyword      = {Referendum,Government-initiated referendum,Perceptions of democracy,Direct democracy,Referendum democracy},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Effects of government-initiated referendums},
  year         = {2015},
}