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IP 18 (Phase II): Deliberative experiments and direct democratic voting

Deliberation (policy making based on reasoned arguments) is a democratic innovation and a promising pathway to address the current challenges to democracy. The major claim of deliberative theorists is that deliberation improves democratic practice, enhances the quality of public policy, and produces better informed citizens. Therefore deliberation can help to arrive at more legitimate decisions in modern, complex, and globalized societies.

This project conducts online experiments on selected topics of upcoming direct democratic votes in Switzerland in order to identify institutional, psychological, and individual conditions that drive voting decisions. The experiments represent an innovation in the context of Swiss direct democracy: they allow an exploration of what people would think and decide if they thought, knew and deliberated more about the issue at hand. The aim is to establish deliberation as a regular feature of Swiss politics. Therefore, the project is also developing a web-based tool for structured deliberation that could be used in future direct democratic votes.

More information on the project:
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Project leaders:
Prof. André Bächtiger, University of Lucerne
Prof. Dr. Thomas Gautschi, University of Mannheim
Prof. Marco Steenbergen, University of Zurich

Doctoral student:
Seraina Pedrini, University of Zurich