The ECAS Knowledge Centre is an online collection of resources on two broad themes: EU Rights and Civic Engagement in Europe. It aims to help civil society campaigners, researchers, analysts, academics, advisors, policy makers and interested citizens navigate the large amount of information available in a user-friendly manner. It offers easy access to research, case studies, evaluations, papers, issue briefs, toolkits and more on the following topics:

Freedom of Movement in the EU
European Citizens' Initiative (ECI)

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Crowdsourced Deliberation: The Case of the Law on Off-Road Traffic in Finland

January 1, 2016

This article examines the emergence of democratic deliberation in a crowdsourced law reform process.The empirical context of the study is a crowdsourced legislative reform in Finland, initiated by theFinnish government. The findings suggest that online exchanges in the crowdsourced process qualifyas democratic deliberation according to the classical definition. We introduce the term "crowdsourceddeliberation" to mean an open, asynchronous, depersonalized, and distributed kind of onlinedeliberation occurring among self-selected participants in the context of an attempt by government oranother organization to open up the policymaking or lawmaking process. The article helps tocharacterize the nature of crowdsourced policymaking and to understand its possibilities as a practicefor implementing open government principles. We aim to make a contribution to the literature oncrowdsourcing in policymaking, participatory and deliberative democracy and, specifically, the newlyemerging subfield in deliberative democracy that focuses on "deliberative systems."


Crowdsourcing for Participatory Democracies: Efficient Elicitation of Social Choice Functions

December 31, 2014

We present theoretical and empirical results demonstrating the usefulness of social choice functions incrowdsourcing for participatory democracies. First, we demonstrate the scalability of social choice functions by defining a natural notion of -approximation, and giving algorithms which efficiently elicit such approximations for two prominent social choice functions: the Borda rule and the Condorcet winner. This result circumvents previous prohibitive lower bounds and is surprisingly strong: even if the number of ideas is as large as the number of participants, each participant will only have to make a logarithmic number of comparisons, an exponential improvement over the linear number of comparisons previously needed. Second, we apply these ideas to Finland's recent off-road traffic law reform, an experimenton participatory democracy in real life. This allows us to verify the scaling predicted in our theoryand show that the constant involved is also not large. In addition, by collecting data on the time that users take to complete rankings of varying sizes, we observe that eliciting partial rankings can further decrease elicitation time as compared to the common method of eliciting pairwise comparisons.


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