Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/78046
Authors: 
Arnold, Felix
Freier, Ronny
Year of Publication: 
2013
Series/Report no.: 
DIW Discussion Papers 1311
Abstract: 
Signature requirements are often used as hurdles to prevent overuse of public referenda. We evaluate the causal effect of lowering signature requirements on the number of observed citizen initiatives. Based on municipality-level data for Germany, we make use of legislative changes at specific population thresholds to build an identification strategy using a regression discontinuity design. We find that reducing the signature requirement by 1 percentage point increases the probability of observing an initiative by 8-10 percentage points. The results are robust to a variety of tests. Importantly, we go into great detail to rule out other potential confounders.
Subjects: 
signature requirements
citizen initiatives
local referenda
municipality data
regression discontinuity design
JEL: 
H0
H11
H79
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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