1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook to Referendums and Direct Democracy

Edited By Laurence Morel, Matt Qvortrup Copyright 2018
    552 Pages 47 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    552 Pages 47 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Over the last 30 years referendums have played an increasingly important role in determining government policy. Recent high profile referendums in Scotland, Catalonia and Ukraine have continued the movement towards independence referendums following decolonization and the end of the Cold War. The Greek bailout referendum and Britain’s vote on membership of the EU reflect a tradition of European states giving their people a direct say in the transfer of sovereign powers to the European Union seen through the ratification of key treaties such as Maastricht, Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon. This Routledge Handbook covers key aspects and issues of direct democracy and referendums throughout the world including:

    •their history;

    •when, why, where, how and on which issues referendums are held;

    •why some referendums are more democratic than others;

    •how referendums are won;

    •whether they produce good policies;

    •if referendums increase participation and improve the quality of representative democracies;

    •do referendums increase trust in democracy and the political actors;

    •the impact of new technology on the possibilities, methods and frequency of direct public political participation;

    •how they should be regulated.

    Covering other related areas such as recall, citizen juries and random selection, this compendium is an indispensable guide to referendums and the workings of modern democracy.

    Foreword by Vernon Bogdanor


    Laurence Morel and Matt Qvortrup

    Part I. The History and Variety of Referendums

    1. The History of Referendums and Direct Democracy

    Matt Qvortrup

    2. Types of Referendums, Provisions and Practice at National Level Worldwide

    Laurence Morel

    3. Local Referendums: A Comparative Assessment of Forms and Practice

    Theo Schiller

    4. Methodological Issues: Popper, Paradigms and Historical Perspectives on Referendum Research.

    A Case of Pluralism

    Matt Qvortrup

    Part II. The Politics of Referendums: Causes and Regime Context

    5. Views on Referendums: Is there a Pattern?

    Palle Svensson

    6. Why Referendums? On Appearances and Absences

    Dag Anckar

    7. Referendums and Consensus Democracy: Empirical Findings from 21 EU Countries

    Stefan Vospernik

    Part III. The Democratic Quality of Referendums: Criteria, Practices, Regulations

    8. The Democratic Criticism of Referendums: The Majority and True Will of the People

    Laurence Morel

    9. The Democratic Potential of Referendums: Intrinsic and Extrinsic Limitations

    Patrick Taillon

    10. Democratic Credentials and Deficits of Referendums: A Case Study of the Scottish Independence Vote

    Stephan Tierney

    11. People Concerned and People Entitled to Vote: The Example of Sovereignty Referendums

    İlker Gökhan Şen

    12. The Expression of Popular Will: Does the Wording of a Referendum Question Matter?

    François Rocher and André Lecours

    13. The Expression of Popular Will: Do Campaigns Matter and How Do Voters Decide?

    Ece Ozlem Atikcan

    1. The Strength of Popular Will: Legal Impact, Implementation and Duration

    Dane Waters

    15. Existing Regulations and Recommended Best Practices: The Example of the USA

    Henry S. Noyes

    Part IV. Voting at Referendums

    16. Voting Behaviour in Direct Democracy Votes

    Pascal Sciarini

    1. Picking Winners. Forecasting the Results of EU Referendums 1972-2016
    2. Matt Qvortrup

    3. The Formation of Opinions at Referendums: The Application of the Screening Theory Model

    Guy Lachapelle

    19. Are Referendums a Machinery to Turn Out our Prejudices into Rational Choices ? An Unfortunate Answer of Sociophysics

    Serge Galam

    1. How Elections Shape Campaigning Effects in Direct Democracy

    Simon Lanz and Alessandro Nai

    Part V. Policy and Political Effects of Referendums

    21. Referendums, Minorities and Individual Freedoms

    Marthe Fatin-Rouge Stefanini

    22. Referendums on European Integration: Crisis-Solving or Crisis-Inducing?

    Fernando Mendez and Mario Mendez

    23. Do Referendums Make Better Citizens? TTThe Effects of Direct Democracy on Political Interest, Civic Competence and Participation

    Julien Talpin

    24. Brinkmanship and Backsliding: How Governments Deal with Referendum Decisions

    Gerald Schneider

    25. Effects of Referendums on Party Cohesion and Cleavages: Empirical Findings from 21 EU Countries

    Stefan Vospernik

    Part VI. Related Direct Democratic Institutions: An Overview

    26. Recall Referendum Around the World: Origins, Institutional Designs and Current Debates

    Yanina Welp

    27. Deliberative Mini-Publics in Democratic Systems

    Maija Setälä

    28. Nothing Fails Like Success: Teledemocracy and Deliberative Polling

    Ted Becker

    29. Sortition, Direct Democracy and Indirect Democracy

    Gil Delannoi and Oliver Dowlen


    Appendix 1.Types of Nationwide Referendums Provided for in the 195 Countries of the World (2016) Laurence Morel

    Appendix 2. Practice of Nationwide Referendums in the 195 countries of the World (1940-2016)

    Laurence Morel


    Laurence Morel is Professor of Political Science at the University of Lille, France and affiliated to the Centre de Recherches Politiques de Sciences Po Paris (CEVIPOF), Francec.

    Matt Qvortrup is Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Coventry University, UK.

    "Referendums can dramatically validate controversial political projects (such as Brexit). But the record is very patchy and uneven, and solidly constructed democratic referendums are rare. This thorough and up to date Handbook provides indispensable guidance both to the potential benefits and to the many pitfalls". - Laurence Whitehead, Nuffield College, Oxford University.

    "This volume brings together in one place the answers to all the questions you ever wanted to ask about referendums in many forms and places. A must have for serious researchers and their libraries." - Professor Richard Rose FBA, Director, Centre for the Study of Public Policy, University. of Strathclyde