Plenary Session 2: Direct Democracy

Andres Ladner introduced the session. In a post-NPM context characterized by low trust levels in government, there is a growing interest in the Swiss Direct Democracy (SDD) model. Before implementing it elsewhere, it should be properly understood. SDD is often mistaken as deliberative participation. Yet in Switzerland, representative democracy (SRD) fulfils this function. SDD is decision-making by the majority of voting citizens through various kinds of referendum. When SRD fails, SDD takes over: the majority of the population decides in lieu of the represented political parties.
Andreas Gross goes on to stress the relations between SRD and SDD. First, SDD has an overall positive impact on SRD: inconclusive referenda, and the very possibility that a referendum takes place, leads to more and better public deliberations. Second, despite the existence of objective weaknesses, politicians can’t reform referenda: it would be interpreted as undermining of SDD by SRD. Third, politicians play with referenda: they can ensure a referendum takes place to defeat their opponents. Fourth, SRD and SDD are competitors: citizens can object politicians at any time. Concluding comparisons with emerging DD initiatives are provided: the bottle is half-full at best when politicians eventually keep control over decision-making. Jochen Franzke illustrates these considerations by reference to half-full DD tools existing at local level in Germany: it only strengthens deliberative democracy before referendum, not after.
The discussion revolves around the correct information of citizens, the impact of an unlikely Swiss adhesion to EU on its DD/RD, ongoing DD initiatives in EU, the legitimacy of DD-decisions, and the value-for-money of DD.


The 2018 EGPA Conference, co-organized in Lausanne with IDHEAP/UNIL features PhD Symposium taking place on 3-4 September. On behalf of IDHEAP/UNIL, Prof. Dr. Andreas Ladner welcomed the PhD students and wished them a successful conference, highlighting the importance of organizing seminars dedicated to PhD students and young researchers. The co-chairs of the PhD Symposium, Prof. Dr. Eckhard Schroeter, Prof. Dr. Sophie Weerts and Prof. Dr. Christoph Reichard opened the Symposium, by presenting it to the newcomers. They emphasized the crucial role the EGPA PhD Symposium has historically played in promoting students’ involvement in research activities by serving as an exchange platform. The success of the EGPA PhD symposium is built on three principles: the symposium’s international perspectives, the inter-disciplinary aspects, and the assurance students can have that the discussions remain internal to the symposium. For EGPA, IIAS Director General Dr. Sofiane Sahraoui and EGPA Executive Secretary Dr. Fabienne Maron IIAS Scientific Director congratulated the participating students and the co-chairs of the seminar for their efforts. While applauding the quality – and therefore the success – of the EGPA symposium, Dr. Sahraoui expressed the willingness of IIAS to replicate the same model for the IASIA PhD seminar. Furthermore, the Director General recognized the commitment of the Co-chairs and Executive Secretary for the success of the symposium. He presented a new product, the Research Academy, that the IIAS and its entities will offer to young researchers and talents in February 2019 in Brussels. The Director General and the Executive Secretary invited the participants to join the Research Academy and, in the future, to remain highly involved with the IIAS and its entities by joining its numerous working and study groups and events.


During the second day of the EGPA PhD Symposium, participants presented their research and discussed them with their peers. The EGPA PhD symposium also aims at accompanying PhD students in the development of their career. Therefore, Prof. Dr. Lotte Jensen, Head of the Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy at Copenhagen Business School, delivered a keynote address. She emphasized that career development flows from individual choices influenced more by experiences, opportunities and lifecycle than rational planning. The latter nevertheless remains highly recommendable. The discussion led to highlight overarching themes such as: the work-life balance and gender issues, the management of stress and risks of failure, and the traits of the researchers’ occupation overall. This thought-provoking session and its energetic speaker empowered PhD students, contributed to community-building, and strengthened individuals in their endeavours.

The EGPA PhD Symposium went on with a special session on publication strategies with Prof. Dr. Andrew Massey, Editor of the International Review of Administrative Sciences (IRAS), and Prof. Dr. Paul Battaglio and Prof. Dr. Jeremy Hall, Co-Editors in chief of Public Administration Review (PAR). They presented their respective journals and invited the participants submitting their papers, giving useful instructions and information about the procedure and expectations of the editors.

Prof. Dr. Werner Jann and Prof. Dr. Geert Bouckaert presented the European Perspectives for Public Administration project (EPPA). It aims at setting a European agenda for Public Administration research, teaching and training, providing a European alternative voice to the US Minnowbrook Conferences. The programme of EPPA included sessions on Futures, Disciplines, Practice and Cultures, emphasizing the importance of teleological thinking, interdisciplinary dialogue, strong connections with practitioners and humanism and tolerance. EGPA will keep providing a house for the European Minnowbrook after termination of the EPPA project.



#EGPA2018


  • EGPA Conference

  • EGPA Conference

  • EGPA Conference

  • EGPA Conference

  • EGPA Conference

  • EGPA Conference

  • EGPA Conference

  • EGPA Conference

  • EGPA Conference

  • EGPA Conference

  • EGPA Conference

  • EGPA Conference

  • EGPA Conference

  • EGPA Conference

  • EGPA Conference

  • EGPA Conference

  • EGPA Conference

  • EGPA Conference

  • EGPA Conference

  • EGPA Conference

  • EGPA Conference