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Proposals for a Democracy of the Future

Abstract

This contribution focuses on how direct participation of citizens in the political process could be further developed in order to still be prosperous in the future. Recently, there have been strong attacks against existing democracy. The issue dealt with is where, when, and to what extent such participation rights should exist. The intention is to introduce novel ideas rather than to (formally) re-analyze well-known concepts. Several concrete proposals of how direct participation rights could be reformed are presented. This discussion is based on the Public Choice approach.

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Notes

  1. Switzerland is ranked as follows: 1 out of 140 on Global Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum (2015); 1 out of 128 in the Global Innovation Index by the World Intellectual Property Organization (2016); 4 out of 149 in the Prosperity Index by the Legatum Institute (2016); 3 out of 188 in the Human Development Index by the United Nations Development Programme (2015).

  2. For an extensive survey see Mueller (2003), and Tideman (2006). Of special interest for the paper’s topic is Holler (2016) who compares Condorcet’s jury theorem, i.e., the belief that there is some truth that can be approximated in collective decision-making. On the other hand, if individual preferences are taken as the building block of society there are inevitable conflicts in aggregating them.

  3. As formally established by Gibbard (1973) and Satterthwaite (1975), and further developed for voting in elections e.g. by Alvarez and Nagler (2000), Cox (1994), or to strategic abstention in referenda e.g. by Côrte-Real and Pereira (2004), Herrera and Mattozzi (2010).

  4. Thus Saari and Sieberg (2001) show that in the case of direct democratic voting with more than two non-independent issues it may be possible that no participant likes the final combination of issues.

  5. This process resembles Harsanyi’s (1977) Iterated Bargaining Model or Holler and Illing’s (2008) Zeuthen-Harsanyi-Game, which can be considered to be both fair and reasonable.

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Acknowledgements

Bruno S. Frey thanks Evelyn Holderegger for checking the manuscript, and Margit Osterloh, Manfred Holler and two anonymous referees for helpful suggestions for improvement.

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Frey, B.S. Proposals for a Democracy of the Future. Homo Oecon 34, 1–9 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41412-017-0040-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s41412-017-0040-9

Keywords

  • Direct democracy
  • Voting weights
  • Referendums
  • Random decisions
  • Elections

JEL Classification

  • D02
  • D70
  • D72
  • H10
  • Z18