This paper presents the first investigation of whether direct democracy supplements or undermines the attendance of demonstrations as a form of protest behavior. A first approach assumes that direct democracy is associated with fewer protests, as they function as a valve that integrates voters’ opinions, preferences, and emotions into the political process. A competing hypothesis proposes a positive relationship between direct democracy and this unconventional form of political participation due to educative effects. Drawing on individual data from recent Swiss Electoral Studies, we apply multilevel analysis and estimate a hierarchical model of the effect of the presence as well as the use of direct democratic institutions on individual protest behavior. Our empirical findings suggest that the political opportunity of direct democracy is associated with a lower individual probability to attend demonstrations.
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 2, 2012
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