Special issue on “Policy Agendas in Italy”

It’s already ten years since Enrico Borghetto, Marcello Carammia and I started the Italian team of the Comparative Agendas Project. We were all young and full of enthusiasm for this enterprise. We started to collect data with virtually no funds, and thanks to the support of some more senior scholars. Slowly, the group produced a few articles.

And finally we managed to bring home this more ambitious work: a special issue on policy agenda in Italy, with articles written by a group of knowledgeable scholars.

I have co-authored the introduction and an article on budgetary politics.


Special issue: “Parliamentary Work, Re-Selection and Re-Election: In Search of the Accountability Link”

I’m especially proud of this special issue because it is the first product of an ambitious cooperation among a group of rather junior scholars which started in 2014. Our aim is to start a systematical investigation of the relationship between parliamentary activities and career prospects. Are parliamentarians held accountable for what they do (or don’t do) once elected? This special issue makes set the terms of the debate and provides some preliminary evidence on eight countries from different parts of Europe: the Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Romania,  Spain, and Sweden.

For this special issue, I co-authored the introduction and the article on Italy.


From agenda setters to agenda takers? The determinants of party issue attention in times of crisis

In this article Enrico Borghetto and I assess the extent to which the recent sovereign debt crisis impacted the way parties balance the two imperatives of democratic representation,  fulfilling the party mandate received by their voters and mirroring the changing priorities of public opinion. Through the issue coding of around 10,000 parliamentary oral questions tabled in Italy, Portugal and Spain between 2003 and 2014, the analysis shows that the worsening of economic conditions intensified the impact of citizens’ priorities. However, there is no clear evidence of a decline in the importance of the party mandate for either the majority or opposition parties.

It is part of a special issue edited by Nicolò Conti, Swen Hutter and Kyriaky Nanou published on “Party Politics”




Government ideology and party priorities: the determinants of public spending changes in Italy

Focusing on Italy (1948-2009), this article empirically tests whether shifts in governments’ ideology and policy priorities are related to public spending changes in four policy sectors. The results indicate that shifts in governments’ priorities are related with public spending changes in welfare and defence, while they are not relevant to explain changes in public orderand education spending. Government ideology is relevant only when it comes to defence spending, but this influence can be hindered by veto players. We argue that these findings do not disprove the importance of partisan politics but warn us against relying too much on the distinction between left and right parties. This article has been accepted for publication on the Italian Political Science Review and will appear on the 3rd issue of the 2016 volume.