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CrowdLaw: Towards a More Inclusive Lawmaking Through Technology

Project description

Digital democracy to boost trust in government

Trust in government is the successful outcome of government action and the driver of government effectiveness. When citizens are dissatisfied with their government, there is a precipitous erosion of confidence and satisfaction with the way lawmakers are working. The EU-funded CrowdLawLab project will examine how technology could improve the legitimacy and quality of law and decision-making in political systems. It will transform two local legislatures (Barcelona and Madrid) into CrowdLaw living labs to test the theory of digital democracy in practice. The results will assist legislatures, especially city councils, to design participatory law-making practices.


With rates of trust in government at all-time lows, the legitimacy of traditional representative models of lawmaking, typically dominated by political party agendas and conducted by professional staff and politicians working behind closed doors, is called into question. But technology offers the promise of opening how parliaments and local legislatures work, creating new challenges and dangers for individual rights and democracy, but also generating unprecedented opportunities for improving the legitimacy and, more generally, the quality of law and decision-making in our political systems. CrowdLaw refers to the use of technology to engage the public in all stages of the lawmaking process, from problem identification to solution identification, proposal drafting, ratification, implementation and assessment. This research project deals with CrowdLaw in order to understand (theoretically and empirically) its impact on legislative institutions, the public and political culture. By exploiting technology to engage a broader and more diverse constituency in the lawmaking process, CrowdLaw has the potential to enhance the quality of lawmaking practices and to transform fundamentally the source of authority undergirding the legislative process. In this sense, three broad hypotheses will guide my work to measure the impact of digital democracy on individual participation, information quality and legislative outcomes. To do so, I am planning to: 1) Develop a taxonomy to organize and analyse CrowdLaw practices; 2) Conduct mixed-methods research to evaluate different CrowdLaw modalities and their legal frameworks and 3) Transform two local legislatures (Barcelona and Madrid) into CrowdLaw living labs to be able to conduct experiments that allow me to test how CrowdLaw initiatives impact the legitimacy and quality of lawmaking. The final goal of this research is to support legislatures, especially city councils, in designing more participatory lawmaking practices.


Net EU contribution
€ 172 932,48
08002 Barcelona

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Este Cataluña Barcelona
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 172 932,48