The chances of gaining approval for a change in public policy through a referendum are about 50 percent or lower, research conducted at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has shown. This is the case, even if a government is sure of its chances of gaining approval of its policy via the referendum process, the research indicates.
The research is part of a doctoral thesis written by Dr. Avital Moshinsky on the subject, “The Status-Quo Bias in Policy Judgment.” Her research incorporated all the national referendums held in 26 democratic countries up to 1993.
Dr. Moshinsky said her analyses indicate that when a person is required to make important decisions regarding changes in an existing situation, he will give greater weight to that which he stands to lose rather than any gain that may result from change. Therefore, there is great reluctance to approve a departure from the existing situation.
Jerry Barach | alfa
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