My research focuses primarily on democratic institutions and democratic innovation. As a result, I often work at the intersection of democratic theory and empirical political science. Publications are organized here by topic: referendums and ballot initiatives, deliberative theory and practice, leaders’ debates, and other work.

Referendums and Ballot Initiatives

Book Project: McKay, Spencer. (Under review) Mass Legislation: A Democratic Theory of Popular Vote Processes. [Draft manuscript is available upon request]

McKay, Spencer. (2023) “Plebiscites, Referendums, and Ballot Initiatives as Institutions of Popular Sovereignty: Rousseau’s Influence on Competing Theories of Popular Vote Processes.” The Review of Politics.

el-Wakil, Alice and Spencer McKay. (2022) “La démocratie directe dans la théorie politique.” Démocraties Directes. (ed. Raul Magni-Berton and Laurence Morel), 65-74.

McKay, Spencer. (2022) “The Politics of Referendum Rules: Evidence from New Zealand (1893-2016).” Politics & Policy. 50 (1), 137-153. [Appendix]

McKay, Spencer. (2021) “Democratic Theory and the Empirical Study of Popular Vote Processes.” Democratic Theory. 8(1), 110–125.

el-Wakil, Alice and Spencer McKay. (2020) “Disentangling Referendums and Direct Democracy: A Defence of the Systemic Approach to Popular Vote Processes.” Representation. 56 (4), 449–466.  [Ungated version]

el-Wakil, Alice and Spencer McKay. (2020) “Introduction to the Special Issue ‘Beyond ‘Direct Democracy’: Popular Vote Processes in Democratic Systems’.” Representation. 56 (4), 435–447.

McKay, Spencer. (2019) “Building a Better Referendum: Linking Mini-Publics and Mass Publics in Popular Votes.” Journal of Public Deliberation, 15 (1).

McKay, Spencer. (2018) “Designing Popular Vote Processes for Democratic Systems: Counter-proposals, Recurring Referendums, and Iterated Popular Votes.” Swiss Political Science Review, 24(3), 328–334. [Ungated version]

Deliberative Theory and Practice

McKay, Spencer. (Revised and resubmitted) “Democratic Innovations and the Working-Class.” Working-Class Politics and Representation in Canada. (ed. Jacob Robbins-Kanter and Royce Koop). [Draft available upon request]

McKay, Spencer and Chris Tenove. (2021). “Disinformation as a Threat to Deliberative Democracy.” Political Research Quarterly. 74 (3), 703-717. [Ungated version]

MacLeod, Peter, and Spencer McKay. (2018) “MASS LBP and Long-Form Deliberation in Canada.Democratic Theory. 5(2), 108–13. [Ungated version]

Leaders’ Debates

Book Project: McKay, Spencer, Jacob Robbins-Kanter, and Inessa De Angelis. (In progress) Leaders' Debates in Canada. 

McKay, Spencer. (Revised and resubmitted) “Leaders’ Debates.” Elections in Canada: People, Players and Processes. (ed. Tamara A. Small and Royce Koop). [Draft available upon request]

Other Work

McKay, Spencer. (2023). "Common-Pool Resources and Democracy." Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy. 

Cameron, Maxwell A., Alessandra Ribeiro, Gerald Baier, Spencer McKay, Rebecca Alegría Monnerat, and Catherine Ann Cameron. (2022) “Partisanship and Political Learning: Lessons from Training Politicians.Journal of Political Science Education.

McKay, Spencer and Mark E. Warren. (2018) “Democratizing Participatory Governance Through Countervailing Power.Handbook of Participatory Governance (ed. Hubert Heinelt), 77-93. [CPSA 2017 Draft Version]