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The Local Initiative in California
Tracy M. Gordon

September 2004

In The Local Initiative in California, PPIC research fellow Tracy Gordon provides the most comprehensive evaluation of the local initiative to date. Drawing on previously unexplored data, her report examines trends and patterns in local initiatives and investigates their causes and policy consequences. Gordon finds that local initiatives are more numerous, more likely to qualify, and more likely to become law than statewide initiatives. The major criticisms of the statewide initiative—for example, that it benefits special interests, depresses turnout, or tramples minority rights—do not seem to apply to the local initiative. Instead, local voters appear to use this process to tackle issues that are not adequately resolved by their elected representatives or by state policy.

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