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Palgrave Macmillan

Referendums Around the World

The Continued Growth of Direct Democracy

ISBN 9780230361751
Publication Date May 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (PDF) Ebook (EPUB) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

Referendums Around the World is a ground breaking empirical study. A successor to David Butler and Austin Ranney's classic, the present volume surveys all referendums held worldwide since since 1793. Unlike its predecessor, in this edition, Dr Qvortrup and a cast of outstanding contributors provide a thorough account of the pros and cons of referendums, the reason why politicians have submitted issues to referendums and the consequences of letting the people decide. Covering countries and regimes ranging from developed democracies to autocratic regimes, the book is a tour de force of referendums written by some of the world's foremost experts on the subject.

Matt Qvortrup is Associate Professor at Cranfield University. Described by the BBC as 'the world's leading expert on referendums', Matt Qvortrup has published several books on referendums. The winner of the PSA Prize for best article in 2012, he is a former advisor to the US State Department.

1. Introduction: Theory, Practice and History; Matt Qvortrup
2. Referendums in Russia, the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe; Ronald J. Hill and Stephen White
3. Referendums in Western Europe; Matt Qvortrup
4. Referendums in Switzerland; Uwe Serdült
5. Referendums and Initiatives in North America; Todd Donovan
6. Referendums in Latin America; David Altman
7. Referendums in Africa; Norbert Kersting
8. Referendums in Asia; Masahiro Kobori
9. Referendums in Oceania; Caroline Morris
10. Conclusion; Matt Qvortrup

David Altman, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Sir David Butler, Nuffield College, University of Oxford, UK
Todd Donovan Western Washington University, USA
Ronald J. Hill, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
Norbert Kersting, University Münster, Germany
Masahiro Kobori, Ritsumeikan University, Japan
Caroline Morris, Queen Mary, University of London, UK
Matt Qvortrup, UK Defense Academy Cranfield University
Uwe Serdült, Centre for Democracy Research Aarau (ZDA) and University of Zurich, Switzerland
Stephen White, University of Glasgow, UK


'Referendums Around the World offers a comprehensive literature overview, both empirical and theoretical, on referendums. Much more formidable, however, are the historical analyses of referendums all over the world, from Europe to Sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania, and from the United States to the ex-Communist countries. This book is a 'must-read' for anyone interested in the referendum as an institution that is consequential not only for law-making and constitutional revisions, but also for its role in the collapse of the Soviet Union, the fall of Pinochet, the derailing of European Unification, and the approval of authoritarian regimes and constitutions.'– George Tsebelis, Department of Political Science, University of Michigan, USA
'This volume is a worthy successor to the global survey of referendums undertaken two decades ago by David Butler and Austin Ranney. Dr. Qvortrup has assembled an impressive group of scholars from around the world to bring both their local expertise and comparative understanding to the contemporary study of the various forms and applications of direct democracy. Strengthened by Qvortrup's own broad theoretical and empirical knowledge of the subject, this work will be welcomed by both scholars and practitioners as the use of direct democratic institutions and practices continues to expand.'– Lawrence LeDuc, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto, Canada
'Referendums Around the World updates the classic works on referendums, provides detailed descriptive data, and serves as a splendid introduction to these fascinating institutions. The thoughtful chapters on different regions stress the importance of the context in which a referendum or initiative takes place and the variety of purposes that it can serve. These include spurring or checking the usual aggregation and policymaking processes, authorizing constitutional change, or legitimizing authoritarian repression.'– G. Bingham Powell, President of the American Political Science Association and Marie C. Wilson and Joseph C. Wilson Professor of Political Science, Department of Political Science, University of Rochester, USA
'Anyone wishing to learn about the use of direct-democratic devices in different regions of the world should take note of this book.'– Wilfried Marxer, Liechtenstein Institute
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