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Redistribution and Reelection under Proportional Representation: The Postwar Italian Chamber of Deputies

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  • Golden, Miriam
  • Picci, Lucio

Abstract

We study incumbency advantage and the electoral returns to pork and patronage over ten legislative periods from 1948 to 1992 for two political parties — the Christian Democrats (DC) and the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) — in Italy’s lower house of representatives, the Chamber of Deputies. Adapting a regression discontinuity design to Italy’s open-list system of proportional representation, we show that parliament comprised two groups: a small elite, whose members enjoyed an incumbency advantage, and the average deputy, who benefitted from no such incumbency advantage. Elite legislators affiliated with Italy’s two main parties of government received significantly more preference votes when pork and patronage were steered to their districts, although the effect is small. We interpret this to indicate that their incumbency advantage was linked to their ability to claim credit for these allocations. We also show that the two parties won more list votes when districts received more resources and that when districts received more resources, the abilities of these parties to persuade their electors to use preference votes improved. This form of electoral mobilization, in turn, enlarged the number of ministerial positions secured by the district. Our analysis depicts a political environment severely segmented between a small, powerful elite group of deputies and backbenchers.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 29956.

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Date of creation: 25 Mar 2011
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:29956

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Keywords: incumbency effect; distributive politics; patronage; proportional representation; Italy; regression discontinuity;

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  1. Imbens, Guido W. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2008. "Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 615-635, February.
  2. Lee, David S., 2008. "Randomized experiments from non-random selection in U.S. House elections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 675-697, February.
  3. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2009. "Regression Discontinuity Designs In Economics," Working Papers 1118, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  4. Katz, Jonathan N., 1997. "A Statistical Model for Multiparty Electoral Data," Working Papers 1005, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  5. Yogesh Uppal, 2009. "The disadvantaged incumbents: estimating incumbency effects in Indian state legislatures," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 138(1), pages 9-27, January.
  6. Daniel Diermeier & Michael Keane & Antonio Merlo, 2002. "A Political Economy Model of Congressional Careers," PIER Working Paper Archive 04-037, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Sep 2004.
  7. Van de Ven, Wynand P. M. M. & Van Praag, Bernard M. S., 1981. "The demand for deductibles in private health insurance : A probit model with sample selection," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 229-252, November.
  8. Miriam A. Golden & Lucio Picci, 2005. "Proposal For A New Measure Of Corruption, Illustrated With Italian Data," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17, pages 37-75, 03.
  9. Beck, T.H.L. & Clarke, G. & Groff, A. & Keefer , P. & Walsh, P., 2001. "New tools in comparative political economy: The database of political institutions," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3125517, Tilburg University.
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Cited by:
  1. Pompei, Fabrizio, 2013. "Heterogeneous effects of regulation on the efficiency of the electricity industry across European Union countries," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 569-585.

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