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2018

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Special Interest Influence Under Direct Versus Representative Democracy, John G. Matsusaka Jul 2018

Special Interest Influence Under Direct Versus Representative Democracy, John G. Matsusaka

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

The ability of economic interest groups to influence policy is a common theme in economics and political science. Most theories posit that interest group power arises from the ability to influence elected or appointed government officials through vote-buying, lobbying, or revolving doors; that is, by exploiting the representative part of democracy. This raises the question: does special interest influence decline when policy is chosen using direct democracy, without involvement of representatives? An analysis of the content of the universe of state-level ballot initiatives during 1904-2017 reveals that business interests have been worse off as a result of initiatives across major ...