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date: 15 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In this article, the authors assess the relationships between opinion, public policy, and state-level direct democracy. They argue that despite assumptions about dramatic effects of direct democracy on state policy, evidence on the matter is mixed and we know relatively little about how popular initiatives translate public opinion into policies. They examine the citizen initiative process in the context of the broader study of cross-state variation in policy and consider how initiatives might make policy more responsive to public opinion. Additionally, the authors evaluate the two-way relationship between state initiatives and national politics and how federal courts may constrain the initiative’s ability to shape policy. Directions for future research are explored in the conclusion.

Keywords: direct democracy, public opinion, public policy, citizen initiative, national policy

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