Direct democracy is one of the most controversial of democratic tools.
It is suggested by some as a key way to reinvigorate democracy but others are much more sceptical of its use. One of the reasons may be the experience of California, which is now facing insolvency and political paralysis as a result, some argue, of its use of direct democracy.
In this short briefing paper, Involve Associate Janice Thomson considers the example of California, whether direct democracy is to blame and what we can learn from their experience.
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