After the Merger: Do Citizens Want Democratic Innovations?

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    Abstract

    Democratic innovations are often considered to be a solution to the widespread disengagement of citizens from politics at both national and local levels of government. However, it is still not clear what forms of engagement citizens prefer and whether the innovations can help sustain popular involvement in times of political turmoil. In this study we examine whether residents consider democratic innovations to be an important way to sustain citizen engagement after a municipal merger and whether introducing new ways of involvement can help mobilise otherwise disengaged groups of citizens. The data derive from a survey with 2,000 respondents in 14 municipalities in the Turku region of Southwest Finland that discussed plans for a municipal merger to create a larger municipality. In the survey, we ask the respondents about their attitudes towards the use of various democratic innovations in the case of a municipal merger. The results suggest that citizens consider democratic innovations to be important in creating a functioning democracyafter a municipal merger. However, it is unlikely that democratic innovations willmobilise people not already involved in politics, regardless of the characteristics of the previous municipality.
    Original languageUndefined/Unknown
    Pages (from-to)3–31
    JournalScandinavian Journal of Public Administration
    Volume20
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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