Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/202745
Authors: 
Stutzer, Alois
Baltensperger, Michael
Meier, Armando N.
Year of Publication: 
2019
Series/Report no.: 
IZA Discussion Papers No. 12399
Abstract: 
We study how the number of ballot propositions affects the quality of decision making in direct democracy, as reflected in citizens' knowledge, voting behavior, and attitudes toward democracy. Using three comprehensive data sets from Switzerland with over 3,500 propositions, we exploit variation in the number of federal and cantonal propositions. Voters know the most about the content of federal propositions when they are exclusively presented and less with a high number of concurrent cantonal propositions on the ballot. Across other outcomes we find no consistent indications that – for the observed variation in the exposure to popular votes – a high number of propositions impedes the quality of decision making in Swiss federal direct democracy. In the medium to longer term, more federal propositions on the ballot rather relate to higher perceived political influence and satisfaction with democracy.
Subjects: 
satisfaction with democracy
political knowledge
pole-party endorsements
political efficacy
direct democracy
ballot length
turnout
voter behavior
JEL: 
D03
D72
D78
H00
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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