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Jelle But, Demy Jongkind, and Wim Voermans publish in The Theory and Practice of Legislation

The most recent edition of the journal ‘The Theory and Practice of Legislation’ contains a contribution by Jelle But, Demy Jongkind and Wim Voermans.

Their contribution entitled ‘Direct Democracy in the Constitution: Good or Bad for Democracy’, is available via this link.

The article deals with the question of whether constitutional provisions that guarantee ‘direct democracy’ correlate with a higher ‘democracy score’ of States. This concerns provisions that guarantee the right to direct influence of citizens in the legislative process, by means of referendums and legislative initiatives. To this end, all constitutions of the world were analysed, looking for the correlation between these constitutional provisions and the democracy score per country. The results show that in States that are not members of the EU, there is indeed a positive correlation between the democracy score and possessing a 'direct democracy' provision. For EU Member States, however, the positive correlation does not seem to be there. The findings are also relevant for the Netherlands, given the bill to amend the Constitution to constitutionally enshrine the corrective binding referendum, which was tabled for the third time last month.

The first steps in the research for the article were taken during the Pre-PhD course ‘Quantitative Empirical Research Methods in Law’. Demy and Jelle did this course in 2020 which was taught by Koen Caminada, Professor of Empirical Analysis of Tax and Social Policy. In the course, students learn about working with data collection, multiple regressions and quantitative analysis, and how to incorporate this into their (future) research. After their final paper scored 9, Professor Caminada encouraged them to expand and edit their research so that the paper could be published as an article. Together with Wim Voermans, Demy and Jelle succeeded in getting the article published in The Theory and Practice of Legislation!

The Pre-Phd Programma is aimed specifically at students who wish to study for a PhD. During the programme, research skills are developed further and participants are supervised in preparing and submitting a PhD proposal. Demy and Jelle both enjoyed participating on the programme and are now affiliated as PhD candidates at the Department of Constitutional and Administrative Law at Leiden University.

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