High and frequent exposure to ballot measures has been shown to increase the awareness, efficacy, political participation, and even the general level of happiness of citizens. In contrast to these studies . . . data from two surveys . . . demonstrate that ballot initiatives in the American states . . . create an environment that encourages citizens to distrust their government.
The study is notable, because most critiques of the initiative and referrenda process are fundamentally elitist. They argue that direct democracy produces worse policy than deliberate representative democracy. This study, in contrast, questions whether initiatives and referrenda are good from a democratic government enhancing perspective.