Direct Democracy Worldwide

Direct Democracy Worldwide

By: David Altman (author)Hardback

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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.

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About Author

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 Catolica 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.


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.

Product Details

  • publication date: 30/11/2010
  • ISBN13: 9781107001640
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 266
  • ID: 9781107001640
  • weight: 590
  • ISBN10: 1107001641

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