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Morality at the Ballot
Direct Democracy and Political Engagement in the United States

AUD$127.95 inc GST

  • Date Published: December 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107084575

AUD$ 127.95 inc GST

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About the Authors
  • Across the United States, there is wide variation in opportunities for citizens to craft legislation through the process of direct democracy. Previous studies suggest that an active role in policy making can spark political interest and engagement, encouraging individuals, who would otherwise abstain from voting, to turn out. Daniel R. Biggers challenges this contention, testing a new theoretical framework that details the exact circumstances under which any proposition might increase participation. Morality at the Ballot reveals that the ability of direct democracy to increase turnout is significantly more limited than currently thought, and that the propositions that do affect participation are restricted to a small subset of ballot issues that include morality policy. Biggers uses these morality propositions to demonstrate the conditions necessary for direct democracy to influence turnout, affect who votes, and shape electoral and policy outcomes. The investigation provides significant insights into the consequences of deciding policy via the ballot and expanding the role for citizens in the political process.

    • Demonstrates that the ability of direct democracy to increase turnout is much more limited than currently thought
    • Demonstrates that ballot measures addressing moral issues are relatively unique in their ability to motivate political participation
    • Tests a new theoretical framework by examining a wide range of experimental and observational data from the past twenty years
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'In Morality at the Ballot, Daniel Biggers brings fresh thinking to the puzzle of when ballot initiatives might and might not impact voter turnout. Using an array of observational and experimental data sets, Biggers makes a strong case for his subtle, yet sophisticated, argument. This book is a must-read for scholars of political participation and citizen initiatives, as well as those focused on how politics and policy become moralized.' Thomas M. Carsey, Thomas J. Pearsall Distinguished Professor of Political Science, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

    'Daniel Biggers provides an insightful and rigorously tested answer to the question of how legislating at the ballot box shapes democratic representation. His analysis of ballot initiatives and their collateral effect on voter turnout and election outcomes offers surprises for scholars and practitioners of American politics.' Robert M. Stein, Lena Gohlman Fox Professor of Political Science, Rice University, Houston

    'Daniel Biggers makes a strong case that not all ballot measures are created equal in mobilizing voters. He persuasively shows that most ballot measures produce little to no effect on voter turnout. Instead, what matters most is morality at the ballot. By transforming voting into an expressive act, moral issues increase turnout by enticing peripheral voters. This is a book of great importance that should appeal to readers interested in direct democracy, morality politics and voter mobilization.' Stephen Nicholson, University of California, Merced

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2014
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107084575
    • length: 260 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 157 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.55kg
    • contains: 32 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. A theoretical framework
    3. The case for moral issue propositions
    4. Enticing peripheral voters
    5. Statewide ballot measures and turnout
    6. Local-level ballot measures and turnout
    7. A partisan advantage?
    8. Policy outcomes and lessons from morality at the ballot.

  • Author

    Daniel R. Biggers, Yale University, Connecticut
    Daniel R. Biggers is a postdoctoral associate at the Center for the Study of American Politics and the Institution for Social and Policy Studies at Yale University. His work has appeared in Political Behavior and American Politics Research. His dissertation, which served as the basis for this book, was a co-recipient of the Christopher Z. Mooney Dissertation Award, awarded by the State Politics and Policy Section of the American Political Science Association (APSA) for the best dissertation in the field.

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