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Participation in Written Government Consultations in Denmark and the UK: System and Actor-level Effects

  • Anne Rasmussen

Despite the proliferation of instruments of public consultation in liberal democracies, little is known of how the design and use of these instruments affect stakeholder participation in practice. The article examines participation in written government consultations in an analysis of approximately 5,000 responses to consultations in Denmark and the UK in the first half of 2008. It shows that participation is highly conditional upon system- and actor-level characteristics in practice. Our findings indicate that, even if liberal democracies have adopted similar procedures for actor consultation in the last decades, the design and application of crucial rules vary considerably between systems. They emphasize how the conduct of consultation is heavily conditioned by the design of these processes, which is in turn constrained by the historical legacy of state–society structures of the system in question.

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Anne Rasmussen is Professor in the Department of Political Science at Copenhagen University and affiliated to the Department of Public Administration at Leiden University. Contact email:

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Government and Opposition
  • ISSN: 0017-257X
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