Broadening the Outlook: The Role of Subnational Entities in the Direct-Democratic Scene of Federal Policy-Making

Freiburghaus, Rahel (24 August 2018). Broadening the Outlook: The Role of Subnational Entities in the Direct-Democratic Scene of Federal Policy-Making (Unpublished). In: ECPR General Conference 2018. Hamburg, Deutschland. 22.08.–25.08.2018.

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In order to allow for regional co-decision making at the central level (shared rule), multilevel systems build upon a closely intertwined web of vertical, bottom-up channels. Yet the study of subnational influence has been, to a large extent, limited to formal (constitutional) channels, i.e. neglecting the informal dimension of territorial lobbying. What is more, conceptualizations of the region’s vertical influencing used to focus on specific stages of the federal policy-making process rather than thinking of shared rule as an on-going endeavor. In Switzerland, these shortfalls are all evident: On the one hand, certain formal (constitutional) channels do not meet the needs of cantonal authorities anymore. On the other hand, the role of subnational entities in the direct-democratic complex of federal decision-making has not been scrutinized so far. This paper seeks to fill these gaps in both conceptual and empirical terms: Conceptually, it presents a framework how, in which form, with what motivation, and with which stance regions engage in direct-democratic politics. Empirically, the paper relies on original data on 495 subnational interventions in 162 referendum campaigns. Following a multi-method approach, the paper combines descriptive statistics, qualitative content analysis, and semi-structured interview research. Thus, the contribution fosters understanding when, why, and with what effects subnational entities exploit informal vertical channels of influence in the direct-democratic scene of federal policy-making.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Political Science

UniBE Contributor:

Freiburghaus, Rahel


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science




Rahel Freiburghaus

Date Deposited:

25 Jun 2019 08:08

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:27

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Shared Rule; Federalism; Territorial Politics


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