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Citizens’ response to a non-responsive government: the case of the Swiss Initiative on Mass Immigration


Armingeon, Klaus; Lutz, Philipp (2023). Citizens’ response to a non-responsive government: the case of the Swiss Initiative on Mass Immigration. Comparative European Politics:133-151.

Abstract

In times of contested globalization, democratic governments have increasing difficulties to reconcile international obligations with domestic political demands. Unresponsiveness to domestic constituents due to international constraints may threaten to undermine democratic legitimacy. We assess how citizens react to non-responsive governments in the case of a high-stake direct-democratic vote in Switzerland. The 2014 referendum on restricting immigration from the European Union failed in its implementation because of the EU's refusal to negotiate the free movement rights of its citizens. How did Swiss citizens adapt their policy preferences to this implementation failure? Drawing on original survey data, we show that citizens overwhelmingly did not adapt their policy preferences; rather, they rationalized the implementation failure in an effort to protect their ideological and partisan orientations. The results suggests that governments face major challenges to convey constrained policy choices to their citizens.

Abstract

In times of contested globalization, democratic governments have increasing difficulties to reconcile international obligations with domestic political demands. Unresponsiveness to domestic constituents due to international constraints may threaten to undermine democratic legitimacy. We assess how citizens react to non-responsive governments in the case of a high-stake direct-democratic vote in Switzerland. The 2014 referendum on restricting immigration from the European Union failed in its implementation because of the EU's refusal to negotiate the free movement rights of its citizens. How did Swiss citizens adapt their policy preferences to this implementation failure? Drawing on original survey data, we show that citizens overwhelmingly did not adapt their policy preferences; rather, they rationalized the implementation failure in an effort to protect their ideological and partisan orientations. The results suggests that governments face major challenges to convey constrained policy choices to their citizens.

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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 > Political Science and International Relations
Uncontrolled Keywords:Democracy · Responsiveness · Immigration · European Union · Motivated reasoning
Language:English
Date:23 July 2023
Deposited On:07 Feb 2023 16:34
Last Modified:29 Mar 2024 02:40
Publisher:Palgrave Macmillan
ISSN:1472-4790
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1057/s41295-022-00306-4
Official URL:https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1057/s41295-022-00306-4.pdf.
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)