Matt Qvortrup

Matt Qvortrup is professor of political science at Coventry University (U.K.) and a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts. In 2015–16, he advised the U.K. House of Commons on referendums. His most recent books include Referendums and Ethnic Conflict (2014) and Angela Merkel: Europe’s Most Influential Leader (2016).

July 2017, Volume 28, Issue 3

The Rise of Referendums: Demystifying Direct Democracy

Plebiscites have grown less common in recent decades in authoritarian and semi-authoritarian countries, even as the use of referendums in democracies has expanded. Despite their many shortcomings, referendums are, on balance, a mechanism for strengthening democracy.