Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance
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Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance

Edited by Stephen Elstub and Oliver Escobar

Democratic innovations are proliferating in politics, governance, policy, and public administration. These new processes of public participation are reimagining the relationship between citizens and institutions. This Handbook advances understanding of democratic innovations, in theory and practice, by critically reviewing their importance throughout the world. The overarching themes are a focus on citizens and their relationship to these innovations, and the resulting effects on political equality. The Handbook therefore offers a definitive overview of existing research on democratic innovations, while also setting the agenda for future research and practice.
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Chapter 25: Democratic innovations in North America

Christopher F. Karpowitz and Chad Raphael


This chapter assesses the state of democratic innovations in North America, including the United States, Canada, and English-speaking countries of the Caribbean. We begin by setting these innovations in the contexts of democracy on the continent, which includes both established democracies and countries that have only recently decolonised. We go on to discuss major trends in democratic innovations over the past two decades in North America, including referendums and initiatives, mini-publics and collaborative governance, and digital participation in political and civic life. We note the broad range of issues addressed by these innovations and their effects on democratic institutions at different levels of governance. Finally, we draw several lessons and ideas for reform from the uneven impacts of democratic innovations in North America.

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