In This Review

Referendums Around the World: The Growing Use of Direct Democracy
Referendums Around the World: The Growing Use of Direct Democracy
Edited by David Butler and Austin Ranney
AEI Press, 1994, 304 pp
Purchase

This volume suggests that referenda are not the threat to representative democracy and stability they are sometimes made out to be. Looking at the record of votes in Western Europe (including Switzerland, which has staged half the known referenda in history), Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Eastern Europe and the former U.S.S.R., and certain American states, this study concludes that referenda have seldom led to impulsive, irresponsible outcomes, and in several cases (for example, Chile and South Africa) have been positive forces for change.