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Direct democracy, coalition size and public spending


Emmenegger, Patrick; Leemann, Lucas; Walter, André (2020). Direct democracy, coalition size and public spending. Journal of Public Policy:Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

This article contributes to the literature on direct democracy and public spending in two ways. First, we explore how direct democratic institutions interact with a specific aspect of the representative system, the size of the governing coalition, to influence public spending. Second, based on newly collected data, we examine the relationship between three different direct democratic institutions, coalition size and public spending over the period from 1860 to 2015. Empirically, we find that initiatives increase the size of the public sector under single-party governments, but this positive relationship disappears as coalition size increases. In contrast, we find that financial referendums slow down the growth of public spending, while law referendums are not systematically associated with public spending. Finally, we find that the relationship between direct democratic institutions, coalition size and public spending does not change over time despite the long period under investigation.

Abstract

This article contributes to the literature on direct democracy and public spending in two ways. First, we explore how direct democratic institutions interact with a specific aspect of the representative system, the size of the governing coalition, to influence public spending. Second, based on newly collected data, we examine the relationship between three different direct democratic institutions, coalition size and public spending over the period from 1860 to 2015. Empirically, we find that initiatives increase the size of the public sector under single-party governments, but this positive relationship disappears as coalition size increases. In contrast, we find that financial referendums slow down the growth of public spending, while law referendums are not systematically associated with public spending. Finally, we find that the relationship between direct democratic institutions, coalition size and public spending does not change over time despite the long period under investigation.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Public Administration
Physical Sciences > Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
Uncontrolled Keywords:public administration, management, monitoring, policy and law coalition governments, direct democracy, public spending, Swiss cantons
Language:English
Date:29 October 2020
Deposited On:11 Jan 2021 09:29
Last Modified:19 Feb 2021 08:04
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:0143-814X
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1017/s0143814x20000306

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Content: Accepted Version
Language: English
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Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
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Preview
Content: Accepted Version
Language: English
Filetype: PDF (Appendix)
Size: 223kB
Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)