New PUBLIC CHOICE paper on acceptance of direct-democratic and representative decisions

Public Choice, forthcoming (2016) — open-access,
currently online-first

joint work with Sebastian Goerg, Andreas Glöckner, Philip Leifeld, Aniol Llorente-Saguer, Sophie Bade, Carlos Kurschilgen



The paper is available


Are direct-democratic decisions more acceptable to voters than decisions arrived at through representative procedures? We conduct an experimental online vignette study with a German sample to investigate how voters’ acceptance of a political decision depends on the process through which it is reached. For a set of different issues, we investigate how acceptance varies depending on whether the decision is the result of a direct-democratic institution, a party in a representative democracy, or an expert committee. Our results show that for important issues, direct democracy generates greater acceptance; this finding holds particularly for those voters who do not agree with a collectively chosen outcome. However, if the topic is of limited importance to the voters, acceptance does not differ between the mechanisms. Our results imply that a combination of representative democracy and direct democracy, conditional on the distribution of issue importance among the electorate, may be optimal with regard to acceptance of political decisions.

Economic Methods for Lawyers

Emanuel V. Towfigh, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods
and Niels Petersen, University of Münster, Germany

with contributions by Markus Englerth, Sebastian J. Goerg, Stefan Magen, Alexander Morell, Klaus Ulrich Schmolke
Table of Contents | Flyer
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Nudges Polarize!


Towfigh, Emanuel; Traxler, Christian: Nudges polarize!, VerfBlog, 2015/4/16,

Christian Traxler and I have published a text on “Nudging” at

A number of scholars have written responses:

Here’s our text, as a PDF file: English | German

Empirical arguments in public law doctrine: Should empirical legal studies make a “doctrinal turn”?

icon-coverInternational Journal of Constitutional Law (I•CON) [peer-reviewed], vol. 12 (2014), issue 3, pp. 670-691

Link | PDF

Sticky Rebates: Loyalty Rebates Impede Rational Switching of Consumers

jcle-coverjoint work with Alexander Morell and Andreas Glöckner

Journal of Competition Law & Economics, vol. 11(2), pp. 431-461
DOI: 10.1093/joclec/nhv009

Link | Download PDF