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Join us for a series of stand-alone, interrelated lunch seminars with John Matsusaka (Charles F. Sexton Chair in American Enterprise, University of Southern California). 

In recent years, a surge in populism in many of the western democracies has fueled the rise of political movements that promise to restore power back into the People’s hands. In turn, this led to two of the most unexpected political outcomes of the past year: the decision of Great Britain to leave the European Union, and the election of Trump as the 45th president of the United States. These lectures discuss the possible reasons for the rise of global populism and explores the role of direct democracy—initiatives and referendums—as an alternative to representative democracy. Is the growth of direct democracy part of the problem, or can it be part of the solution?

Seminars will take place from 12–1 p.m. in Harper Center C05 (5807 S Woodlawn Ave.).

  • Wednesday, May 24: Are the People Losing Control Over the Institutions They Elect?
    Watch Video
  • Thursday, May 25: Why Direct Democracy Can Work.
    Watch Video
  • Friday, May 26: Can We Use Direct Democracy to Fix Democracy?

John Matsusaka is Charles F. Sexton Chair in American Enterprise in the Marshall School of Business, Gould School of Law, and Department of Political Science at the University of Southern California, and Executive Director of the Initiative and Referendum Institute at USC. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago, and has held visiting appointments at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, UCLA, Caltech, and the University of Chicago. His research focuses on the financing, governance, and organization of corporations and governments. He has published numerous scholarly articles, served as a consultant for the White House Council of Economic Advisors, and is the author of For the Many or the Few: The Initiative, Public Policy, and American Democracy (University of Chicago Press, 2004). From 2007 to 2013 he served as Vice Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs in the USC Marshall School of Business.