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Direct Democracy Worldwide


  • Author: David Altman, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
  • Date Published: March 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107001640

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About the Authors
  • Challenging the common assumption that models of direct democracy and representative democracy are necessarily at odds, Direct Democracy Worldwide demonstrates how practices of direct and representative democracy interact under different institutional settings and uncovers the conditions that allow them to coexist in a mutually reinforcing manner. Whereas citizen-initiated mechanisms of direct democracy can spur productive relationships between citizens and political parties, other mechanisms of direct democracy often help leaders bypass other representative institutions, undermining republican checks and balances. The book also demonstrates that the embrace of direct democracy is costly, may generate uncertainties and inconsistencies, and can be manipulated. Nonetheless, the promise of direct democracy should not be dismissed. Direct democracy is much more than a simple, pragmatic second choice when representative democracy seems not to be working as expected. Properly designed, it can empower citizens, breaking through some of the institutionalized barriers to accountability that arise in representative systems.

    • The first book to identify and explain the reasons behind uses of mechanisms of direct democracy from a worldwide perspective
    • A comparative analysis on the uses of direct democracy across different regime types and levels of democracy
    • Uses a number of different research methodologies, draws on structured and semi-structured interviews, and conducts formal tests of theory using negative binomials, King's 'Ecological Inference', multivariate regression and path analysis
    • Offers contextualized confirmations of theory through Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Altman's book is comprehensive, erudite and at times as fascinating as a thriller … [It] is rich on detail and anecdotes … Too few political scientists use the techniques of critical journalists. Altman is an exception, and his book is all the better for it.' Matt Qvortrup, Political Studies Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2011
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107001640
    • length: 266 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 156 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.59kg
    • contains: 19 b/w illus. 2 maps 17 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Direct democracy at the turn of the century
    2. Terms of the debate surrounding direct democracy
    3. Myths and facts behind the use of mechanisms of direct democracy: a worldwide analysis
    4. Direct democracy within non-democratic regimes
    5. Direct democracy within weak democracies: some cases from Latin America
    6. Direct democracy within democracies: the case of Uruguay (historic evolution, and voting behavior)
    7. Uruguayan citizen-initiated mechanisms of direct democracy as agents of vertical accountability
    8. Conclusions.

  • Author

    David Altman, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
    David Altman received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame and is Associate Professor of Political Science at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Born in Uruguay, he works on comparative politics with an emphasis on the quality of democratic institutions, mechanisms of direct democracy and executive-legislative relations. He is an Associate Researcher for the Uruguayan National Agency for Research and Innovation, was the winner of a Junior Post-Doctoral Scholars in the Study of Democracy Competition of the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Ford Foundation, and has previously held a Fulbright-LASPAU fellowship. He also was Guest Research Assistant Professor at the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies. His recent work has appeared in Electoral Studies, Party Politics, Democratization, the Journal of Legislative Studies, the Swiss Political Science Review and the Journal of Developing Economies.

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