A literature review by Irene Witting in collaboration with Charlotte Wagenaar and Frank Hendriks has been published in the International Political Science Review. The study explores existing literature on the purposeful addition of elements of citizen deliberation to referendum processes. The literature describes both expected effects and empirically observed effects, which can be categorized into four main clusters: effects related to popular control, broad reflection, quality of debate, and democratic embedding.
In practical applications of hybrid combinations of referendums and deliberative processes, several positive effects were observed, including increased knowledge levels, strengthened trust, reflection from multiple perspectives, greater understanding of alternative opinions, opinion change, enhanced political efficacy, and perceived helpfulness in decision-making. Further attention is required for ensuring a robust connection between referendums and deliberative processes and for their integration within representative democracy.
The entire article can be read here.