Constitutional Referendums in the Countries of the World

Dag Anckar


This study of the countries of the world aims at understanding why 98 countries resort in constitutional amendments to mandatory or facultative referendums whereas 95 other countries do not. Two different explanatory approaches are tried out. The one departs from rationality assumptions and regards political institutions as instruments for problem-solving; the other departs from diffusion assumptions and regards institutions as outcomes from cultural and historical contexts. The main findings are consistent with the belief that the use of the constitutional referendum is rationality-driven. Given that amendment thresholds are much less constraining in plurality election systems than in proportional systems, a central hypothesis is that plurality elections promote the installation in amendment of methods for popular examination and approval. This is indeed the case: plurality elections spell referendums and especially so in the context of democratic politics.



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Journal of Politics and Law ISSN 1913-9047 (Print) ISSN 1913-9055 (Online)  Email:

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