Direct democracy research

In several publications, the functioning and consequences of direct democracy are being analyzed. While most studies mainly cover the Swiss case, more recently, we have broadened the focus to a comparative context. Moreover, in the context of an increasing number of European referendums on EU-issues, and the fact that populist parties across Europe have discovered direct democracy as a powerful campaign element, the interest in my expertise by the media, but also by international researchers or governments has increased.

Related publications:

  • LEEMANN, Lucas and STADELMANN-STEFFEN, Isabelle (2021). “Satisfaction with Democracy: When Government by the People brings Electoral Losers and Winners Together”, Comparative Political Studies (forthcoming).
  • DERMONT, Clau and Isabelle STADELMANN-STEFFEN (2020). “The role of policy and party information in direct-democratic campaigns”, International Journal of Public Opinion Research 32(3), Autumn 2020: 442-466. 
  • STADELMANN-STEFFEN, Isabelle and Marlène GERBER (2020). “Voting in the rain – The impact of rain on participation in open-air assemblies”, Local Government Studies 46(3): 414-435. 
  • HEIDBREDER, Eva; STADELMANN-STEFFEN, Isabelle; THOMANN Eva and Fritz SAGER (2019). “EU Referendums in Context: What can we learn from the Swiss Case?”, Public Administration, 97: 370–383, Symposium on Multilevel Governance. 
  • STADELMANN-STEFFEN, Isabelle and Clau DERMONT (2016). How exclusive is assembly democracy? Citizens’ assembly and ballot participation compared, Swiss Political Science Review 22(1): 95-122.
  • STADELMANN-STEFFEN, Isabelle und Clau DERMONT (2015). ”Männer rund doppelt so häufig an Gemeindeversammlungen“, DeFacto, December 21, 2015, (
  • STADELMANN-STEFFEN, Isabelle and Adrian VATTER (2012). “Does Satisfaction with Democracy Really Increase Happiness? Direct Democracy and Individual Satisfaction in Switzerland”, Political Behavior 34: 535-559.
  • FREITAG, Markus and Isabelle STADELMANN-STEFFEN (2010). “Stumbling Block or Stepping Stone? The Influence of Direct Democracy on Individual Participation in Parliamentary Elections”, Electoral Studies, 29(3), 472-483.