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Racial Threat, Direct Legislation, and Social Trust: Taking Tyranny Seriously in Studies of the Ballot Initiative

Joshua J. Dyck
Political Research Quarterly
Vol. 65, No. 3 (SEPTEMBER 2012), pp. 615-628
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc. on behalf of the University of Utah
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41635259
Page Count: 14
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Racial Threat, Direct Legislation, and Social Trust: Taking Tyranny Seriously in Studies of the Ballot Initiative
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Abstract

Current research has argued that direct legislation makes democracies better by helping to encourage better democratic citizenship. In this study, the author tests whether these effects are conditional on the diversity of the electorate. Theoretically, he argues that policy making by majority rule will create conflict because of the perceived threat of large numerical minorities by majority groups. The author hypothesizes that in areas of greater diversity, democratic citizenship socialization effects can be mitigated, especially as it relates to trusting strangers. Using pooled data from the American National Election Study, the author demonstrates the diversity conditional effects of ballot initiative context on generalized trust.

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