Would You Trust an Italian Politician? Evidence from Italian Regional Politics
This chapter evaluates the erosion of electoral accountability of the “Governors” of the Italian Regions in three subsequent political moments: (1) the elections, (2) the inaugural speeches of the Governor, (3) their first important policy decision, the long-term regional budget (DPEFR). We use content analysis (Laver et al. 2003) to assess the position of each Governor on a left to right distribution at the moment of the inaugural speeches and of the DPEFR. We then analyze the correlation between the distributions of (1) the electoral results and the inaugural speeches and (2) the inaugural speeches and the DPEFR, under the hypothesis that greater similarity can be interpreted as greater accountability. The analysis detects some erosion of accountability from the elections to the inaugural speeches, and a more serious one from the inaugural speeches to the DPEFR. A series of ANOVA tests suggest that the Region’s relative economic position/dependency on transfers from the central governments partly explains such loss of accountability.
KeywordsRegional Government Italian Region Electoral Result Policy Position Institutional Reform
Paper presented at the Société Québécoise de Science Politique. We would like to thank Gianluigi Galeotti for his critical encouragement and Louis Imbeau, Francesco Lagona, and Roberto Ricciuti for comments on a previous version of the paper. The usual caveat applies.
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