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Home arrow Political science arrow Evaluating Democratic Innovations: Curing the Democratic Malaise?


  • 1 The terminology used in the literature is rather blurred. Some authors use the term ‘referendum’ for all forms of direct democratic procedures including popular initiatives (e.g. Setala 2006); other authors differentiate between popular initiatives and referenda initiated by representatives (see Kriesi in this volume).
  • 2 The term ‘collaborative governance’ is sometimes also used for consultative procedures (e.g. Ansell and Gingrich 2006).
  • 3 Some authors also include private-public interrelationships such as lobbying, petitioning, or even clientelism, patronage or bribes. However, none of these phenomena are democratic innovations and thus not of interest here.
  • 4 This was the case for a Citizens’ Jury in Berlin. It was assigned a monetary budget to be spent on local projects.
  • 5 The quality of the democratic process is also often regarded as a criterion to measure the quality of democracy. The indicator is, mostly, whether democratic rules are applied. However, in most participatory innovations in Europe democratic rules are applied de jure and de facto. Thus, this criterion is less useful for the evaluation.
  • 6 See for a comprehensive discussion on the different meanings of the term ‘deliberation’: Delli Carpini at al. 2004: 316-319.
  • 7 Some articles provide an overview, for example on direct democracy (Freitag and Wagschal 2007) or on consultative-discursive procedures (Delli Carpini et al. 2004). Some publications report on specific fields, for example the local level (Abelson and Gauvin 2006; Policy Studies Journal, 2006, vol. 34, no. 4; European Journal of Political Research, 2006, vol. 46, no. 4; Beierle and Cayford 2002).
  • 8 Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
  • 9 Latvia, Austria, Portugal, Albania, Macedonia, Croatia, Romania, Moldavia, Andorra, Serbia and San Marino.
  • 10 Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Sweden, Great Britain, Norway and Bulgaria.
  • 11 In Slovakia most referenda fail. Only the referendum on EU membership reached a participation rate of 52 per cent with 92 per cent yes votes.
  • 12 In Belgium, Germany, Greece and Bulgaria no national referenda have taken place in the last eighteen years (Walter-Rogg 2008: 246-51; Moeckli 2007).
  • 13 Studies on the USA show similar results: Bowler and Donovan (2002) showed that citizens living ‘in states that use more initiatives tend to have more positive views of their own political abilities’ (389).
  • 14 Data on different countries, e.g. Switzerland, France, Italy, Denmark, Ireland and Liechtenstein, show that the number of referenda does not directly correlate with the average voter turnout (Moeckli 2007: 111).
  • 15 Some new forms of co-governance at the local level refer to social improvements, e.g. the British National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal and the New Deal for Communities or the French ‘politique de la ville’, an initiative targeting impoverished urban areas (Sintomer and Maillard 2007; see also Talpin in this volume).
  • 16 The impacts on perceived legitimacy cannot be described adequately, because there is too little research available.
  • 17 See
  • 18 Studies on consultative-discursive procedures within the USA point in the same direction: perceived legitimacy, measured for example with the indicator ‘trust in political institutions’, is not enhanced by involvement in consultative-discursive procedures (e.g. Beierle and Cayford 2002).
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