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Tag Archives: Featured

Do populist-leaning citizens support direct democracy?

Populist parties across Europe often support direct democracy, for example through frequent referendums. Do their voters support these initiatives too and why? Tina Freyburg, Robert Huber and Steffen Mohrenberg distinguish between citizens who support direct democracy as a way of giving power to ‘the people’ and those, known as stealth democrats, who do so out of scepticism that politicians can be effective. They find that both sets of attitudes independently are associated with support for...

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Is populism about more than discontent?

The success of populist parties is often viewed as an act of protest against ‘the establishment’. Drawing on new research, Bram Geurkink, Andrej Zaslove, Roderick Sluiter and Kristof Jacobs illustrate that this may not always be the case. Voters for populist parties are not just protest voters: when they have the opportunity, they vote for an alternative. Populist parties are ever more popular: over the last two decades they have more than tripled their vote share in Europe. This has been...

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Brexit and parliamentary legitimation: Beyond constitutional minutiae

David Judge writes that, while much of the discussion around Brexit and Parliament is about procedure and conventions, it should also be about the bigger picture: what does Brexit tell us about the fundamental principles of the UK’s parliamentary state and representative democracy? Politicians and the punditocracy have become consumed with the minutiae of parliamentary procedure and constitutional conventions – of the use of standing orders, the provisions of the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act in...

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New evidence shows gender equality builds life satisfaction

Are societies with high levels of gender equality more likely to be happier? Drawing on new research, Andre P. Audette explains that greater gender equality in a country is associated with an increase in life satisfaction. Importantly, this pattern is not only seen among women, but holds true for men as well. Over the past several decades, countries around the world have made significant progress in advancing women’s social, economic, and political rights. The United Nations has even made...

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Book Review: …and forgive them their debts: Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption From Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year by Michael Hudson

In …and forgive them their debts: Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption From Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year, Michael Hudson offers a historical account of the role that debt played in ancient societies. In focusing on how such societies dealt with the proliferation of debts that cannot be paid, this book sheds informative light on the significance of debt today, writes Alfredo Hernandez Sanchez, and is unlikely to leave the reader’s outlook on history, religion or economics unchallenged...

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Boris Johnson’s real agenda: The ‘Singapore scenario’

While much attention has focused on when or if Britain’s new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, will succeed in taking the UK out of the EU, the longer-term agenda of a Johnson-led Conservative administration has been pushed into the background. This is unfortunate. Johnson’s dream, should his premiership survive, is of a post-Brexit Britain akin to a European ‘Singapore of the West’, writes Charles Woolfson. He cautions, however, that this ‘Singapore scenario’ leaves a lot to be desired. In...

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When parliaments’ second chambers are reformed and the implications for democracy

In recent years there have been several attempts by Western European governments to reform second chambers, though the majority of proposals have failed to pass. Michelangelo Vercesi assesses the conditions when such reforms are proposed, and finds that they are often instigated during times of democratic strain when the governing party wishes to reduce the number of veto players. However, the reforms tend to fail when there is no broad consensus for the proposals, which has implications for...

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Which courts are driving legal integration in Europe?

It has long been believed that judges at the lower echelons of the judiciary are the drivers of legal integration in Europe. Yet, drawing on a new study, Arthur Dyevre and Monika Glavina show that this is not what the data says. Analysing the entirety of preliminary references submitted by domestic courts from 1961 to 2017, they demonstrate that although first instance courts did pioneer the preliminary ruling procedure in the early years of European legal integration, they have been...

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Popular populists: Do anti-establishment voters stick with populist parties after they enter the mainstream?

Self-proclaimed populist challengers to the ‘establishment’ have taken hold in many European countries, but what lies behind the success of these parties? Werner Krause and Aiko Wagner show the reasons for voting for populist parties vary systematically with the degree of establishment of these parties. If citizens distrust national parliaments and believe the political mainstream is not responsive to their interests, then they may be more likely to support new populist parties. But...

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How the beliefs of European leaders changed throughout the Eurozone crisis

The management of the Eurozone crisis reflected the beliefs held by Europe’s political leaders. Drawing on a new study, Marij Swinkels assesses how these beliefs shifted throughout the crisis. Spanish, Italian and French leaders moved away from their Keynesian core beliefs and adopted a more ‘ordoliberal’ orientation as the crisis progressed, while Dutch, UK, and Irish leaders held more ordoliberal beliefs in earlier stages of the crisis and later shifted toward Keynesian approaches. I grew...

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