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Erschienen in: Public Choice 1-2/2023

05.09.2023

Is participatory democracy in line with social protest? Evidence from the French Yellow Vests movement

verfasst von: Benjamin Monnery, François-Charles Wolff

Erschienen in: Public Choice | Ausgabe 1-2/2023

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Abstract

Participatory democracy and public consultations are increasingly being used to shape public policy or resolve political issues. In France, the Grand Débat was launched in early 2019 as a democratic response to the Yellow Vests movement, a massive grassroots social protest. With more than 500,000 participants, the Grand Débat platform was interpreted as a popular success by the government and the media, but little is known about which citizens expressed their opinions online. Although participants on the platform were anonymous and only answered public policy questions, we are able to infer their support for the Yellow Vests movement by using a second platform (a Facebook app) that asks similar questions as well as support for the Yellow Vests. We find that a large majority of participants in the Grand Débat did not support the Yellow Vests movement, in contrast to the general population at the time. This is evidence of a strong self-selection of participants on political grounds, resulting in a biased representation of French public opinion.

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Fußnoten
1
A recent survey of 866 elected representatives in four democracies (Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, Germany) shows that politicians are inaccurate in their assessments of where their fellow citizens stand on key policy issues (Walgrave et al., 2023).
 
2
This caveat probably explains why, since 2010, there has been a ‘deliberative wave’ in OECD countries, with an increasing number of deliberative institutions being set up, in which lay citizens are consulted extensively after random recruitment to ensure representativeness (OECD, 2020).
 
4
The petition was started by a citizen, Priscillia Ludosky. By March 2020, it had been signed by 1.2 million people (https://​www.​change.​org/​p/​pour-une-baisse-des-prix-%C3%A0-la-pompe-essence-diesel). For further evidence, see https://​en.​wikipedia.​org/​wiki/​Yellow_​vests_​protests.
 
5
See Buge & Morio (2019) for a thorough legal and political discussion of the Grand Débat.
 
8
For the sake of robustness, we have also estimated Probit regressions to explain the probability of supporting the Yellow Vests. Unsurprisingly, the results are very similar (available upon requests).
 
9
Again, we estimate linear probability models, so the coefficients are also marginal effects.
 
10
See https://​www.​ined.​fr/​fr/​tout-savoir-population/​chiffres/​france/​structure-population/​population-ages/​ and in particular https://​www.​ined.​fr/​fichier/​s_​rubrique/​156/​fm_​t6.​fr.​xls. The population in metropolitan France is estimated at 65,096,768 in 2019. The number of people aged at least 18 is 51,108,919.
 
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Metadaten
Titel
Is participatory democracy in line with social protest? Evidence from the French Yellow Vests movement
verfasst von
Benjamin Monnery
François-Charles Wolff
Publikationsdatum
05.09.2023
Verlag
Springer US
Erschienen in
Public Choice / Ausgabe 1-2/2023
Print ISSN: 0048-5829
Elektronische ISSN: 1573-7101
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11127-023-01105-5

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