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Policy choices and socioeconomic divides: long-term changes in Italy’s democratic quality


  • Stefano Sacchi


The general elections held in February 2013 marked an earthquake in Italian politics. The two coalitions on the center-left and center-right that had governed Italy alternately between 1996 and 2011 together lost 11 million votes compared to the 2008 elections. The explanations advanced for this electoral outcome generally have to do with two connected factors: citizens’ disgust with political corruption and privileges of the politicians in general, and the distress many households are suffering as a consequence of the most severe economic crisis experienced by Italy in recent history. This paper points to a third, more structural one: the deterioration in substantive dimensions of Italy’s democratic quality over the past 20 years, those related to equality, services and social security, thus impacting directly on individual life chances. Such socioeconomic outcomes are the result of policy choices (both deliberate action and deliberate inaction, or failure to act) implemented by both center-left and center-right governments, although with variations on a common theme.

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  • Stefano Sacchi, 2013. "Policy choices and socioeconomic divides: long-term changes in Italy’s democratic quality," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 330, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  • Handle: RePEc:cca:wpaper:330

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2008. "The Role of Cognitive Skills in Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(3), pages 607-668, September.
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    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H12 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Crisis Management
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy
    • Z18 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Public Policy


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