Challenging the common assumption that models of direct democracy and representative democracy are necessarily at odds, Direct Democracy Worldwide demonstrates how practices of direct and representative democracy interact under different institutional settings and uncovers the conditions that allow them to coexist in a mutually reinforcing manner. Whereas citizen-initiated mechanisms of direct democracy can spur productive relationships between citizens and political parties, other mechanisms of direct democracy often help leaders bypass other representative institutions, undermining republican checks and balances. The book also demonstrates that the embrace of direct democracy is costly, may generate uncertainties and inconsistencies, and can be manipulated. Nonetheless, the promise of direct democracy should t be dismissed. Direct democracy is much more than a simple, pragmatic second choice when representative democracy seems t to be working as expected. Properly designed, it can empower citizens, breaking through some of the institutionalized barriers to accountability that arise in representative systems.
David Altman received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame and is Associate Professor of Political Science at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile. Born in Uruguay, he works on comparative politics with an emphasis on the quality of democratic institutions, mechanisms of direct democracy and executive-legislative relations. He is an Associate Researcher for the Uruguayan National Agency for Research and Innovation, was the winner of a Junior Post-Doctoral Scholars in the Study of Democracy Competition of the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Ford Foundation, and has previously held a Fulbright-LASPAU fellowship. He also was Guest Research Assistant Professor at the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies. His recent work has appeared in Electoral Studies, Party Politics, Democratization, the Journal of Legislative Studies, the Swiss Political Science Review and the Journal of Developing Economies.