Parliamentarians’ Support for Direct and Deliberative Democracy in Europe: An Account of Individual-Level Determinants

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Caroline Close, with Sergiu Gherghina and Christopher Carman
City University of New York
Comparative politics


The increasing critique of representative democracy and its institutions determined reformers to consider the direct and deliberative processes as potential solutions to bridge the gap between elites and citizens. Substantial research investigates the functioning of these alternative models of democracy, but surprisingly little attention is paid to politicians’ perspectives and preferences for these reforms. This article fills this gap through an analysis of parliamentarians’ support for referendums and deliberative debates. It uses individual level data from the PartiRep Comparative MP Survey in fourteen European countries to identify individual-level determinants of legislators’ support. The findings reveal distinct explanatory factors of support for deliberative and direct reforms, which have important implications for democratic reform since elected representatives’ preferences strongly influence the type of innovation adopted.