Consultative referendums and democracy - assessing the short-term effects on political support of a referendum on a municipal merger

Thomas Karv*, Kim Backström, Kim Strandberg

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)
    41 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Local consultative referendums are a widely used democratic innovation. Nevertheless, there is still limited knowledge about the local effects following a referendum, especially in terms of how the public reactions varies given if a citizen has been on the winning or on the losing side of the referendum. The purpose with this study is therefore to add to this line of research by assessing how a local referendum about a municipal merger affects external political efficacy and political trust within a local community. By analysing two cross-sectional datasets collected in a bilingual Finnish municipality before a merger referendum, in 2018 (N = 6,686), and after the referendum, in 2020 (N = 3,133), as a pseudo-experiment of effects of a municipal merger, we show that the aggregated levels of external political efficacy and political trust have increased and vary based on being on the winning or losing side of the referendum.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)151-180
    Number of pages29
    JournalLocal Government Studies
    Volume49
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2023
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Keywords

    • democratic innovations
    • external efficacy
    • local democracy
    • political support
    • political trust
    • Referendums

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