Ratification through referendum or parliamentary vote: When to call a non-required referendum?

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The paper examines the choice of an incumbent government to call either a non-required referendum or a parliamentary vote to ratify legislation, when there is uncertainty about the preferences of voters and elected representatives. Winning a referendum confers different gains from winning a parliamentary vote but requires different levels of effort to attract support. Differences in the preferences of the majority of voters and representatives, personal support for the incumbent and parliamentary party discipline emerge as determinants of the decision to call a non-required referendum.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)674-692
JournalEuropean Journal of Political Economy
Publication statusPublished - 2007



  • Non-required referendum
  • Parliamentary vote
  • Spatial voting under uncertainty
  • Incumbent versus opposition

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