Italian Political Science 2021-02-07T20:47:37+00:00 Editorial Board of IPS Open Journal Systems <p><strong>Italian Political Science (IPS)</strong>&nbsp;is an open-access peer-reviewed quarterly journal dedicated to deepening the understanding of political phenomena relevant for political scientists and a wider public, including journalists, policy-makers, policy analysts, political activists and all those who have an interest in politics.</p> <p>IPS publishes&nbsp;<strong>intellectually stimulating and conceptually rigorous contributions</strong>&nbsp;on all areas relevant to Political science. All articles include a focus on contemporary Italy, either considered as a case-study or in comparative or European perspective.</p> Changing Politics: Government, Parliament and Parties in Italy at the Dawn of the 18th Legislature 2021-02-07T20:47:37+00:00 Andrea Pedrazzani Elisabetta De Giorgi Federico Russo Francesco Zucchini <p>The public’s distrust of the Italian parliament has spread like a pandemic over the past few years. According to the Eurobarometer data, in the last fifteen years the portion of the Italian population declaring a measure of trust in the country’s highest representative institution has never exceeded one third. Apparently, the Italian political system has proven unable to tackle citizens’ distrust, as the gap between those who tend not to trust the Italian parliament and those who tend to trust it still amounts to more than 20 percentage points, also after the start of Legislature XVIII in March 2018. This is perhaps surprising, as the Italian elections held in 2018 brought about a number of novelties in the party system and in the institutional framework. At the same time, however, some political dynamics in the Italian parliament did not change after the 2018 elections, and this has probably helped to preserve the image of the Italian parliament as a ‘delegitimised’ institution. It is especially on these patterns of continuity and discontinuity with the past that could be observed at the start of Legislature XVIII that the present Special Issue focuses.</p> 2020-11-09T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020 Andrea Pedrazzani, Elisabetta De Giorgi, Federico Russo, Francesco Zucchini Responsiveness, Responsibility and the Role of Parliament. Public Budgeting in Italy in the Time of Techno-Populism 2020-09-07T12:43:54+00:00 Alice Cavalieri <p>Institutional frictions ruling the public budget narrow a government’s possibilities to implement its electoral stances and policy preferences. At the same time, parties increasingly move around between the choice to be responsive and the need to be responsible. These have become major challenges in Italy, particularly after the 2018 elections and in the era of techno-populism, when many parties took office while advertising themselves as expert problem-solvers and the only ones able to give a voice to popular demands. Measuring the allocation of expenditure and budget changes in Italy during the XVIII legislative term, the paper studies the trade-off between responsibility and responsiveness and populism where budget policy is concerned. It also sheds light on the balance of power between the executive and the legislative, investigating how the first and second Conte governments steered and exploited the budgetary process to protect their spending preferences.</p> 2020-11-09T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020 Italian Political Science Ineffective changes for hard times. The 2017 reform of the Italian Senate’s Rule of Procedure and its effects 2020-09-28T07:05:03+00:00 Andrea Pedrazzani Francesco Zucchini <p>In 2017, an extensive reform of the Rules of Procedure of the Italian Senate was enacted. The revision was soon welcomed as a step towards a more efficient and rapid upper house. In this article, we focus on one crucial aspect of the reform: the changes made to the rules governing the assignment of bills to parliamentary committees. In particular, we analyze the costs associated with the different assignment procedures and develop some theoretical expectations about the change brought about by the reform in terms of decision-making efficiency. These expectations are empirically evaluated against data on lawmaking in the Senate before and after the reform. A comparison is also carried out using data from the Chamber of Deputies. Preliminary results show that the new rules have not improved the efficiency and productivity of the Italian Senate so far.</p> 2020-11-09T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020 Italian Political Science The Italian XVIII legislature: populism, law-making and procedures 2020-12-02T15:15:37+00:00 Chiara De Micheli <p>The study explores the adjustment of the Italian parliamentary system to the change of balance between political parties. The results of several aspects of the breakdown of the March 2018 parliamentary elections are examined in the use of certain law-making mechanisms such as laws, decrees, delegations, votes of confidence and decentralised procedures, analysed as a dependent variable. An interpretation of the characteristics of the legislative process is then proposed on the basis of elements of continuity and change in three independent variables: parliament fragmentation, governability and electoral volatility. The case study is the XVIII legislature, focusing on the first year of activity of the government-parliament subsystem.</p> 2020-11-09T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020 Chiara De Micheli Making Laws Fit for the Present Day 2020-10-19T11:46:36+00:00 Valerio Di Porto <p>This article retraces the events of the first Conte government from its difficult birth by contract through to its foreseen death and seeks to establish a connection between the political-institutional aspects of this unprecedented government alliance and the use of legislative instruments, as well as between the devaluation of Parliament and the successes of legislative parliamentary initiatives. This reconstruc-tion also compares the first months of the 18th legislature with the first months of the preceding legis-latures of the so-called ‘Second Republic’. The conclusion will be that this legislature distinguishes itself from certain preceding long-term legislatures (the 13th, 14th, 16th and 17th) by an approach orien-tated exclusively to the present and to constitutional reforms that are very small in dimension but huge in impact (such as reducing the number of parliamentarians). Like the other legislatures, it will end with a government and a majority which are different from the original ones, but perhaps with the same prime minister. When that will happen is obviously unclear.</p> 2020-11-09T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020 Valerio Di Porto Populism and Policy Issues: Examining Political Communication on Twitter in Italy 2018-2019 2020-12-16T19:22:45+00:00 Claudia Roberta Combei Matteo Farnè Luca Pinto Daniela Giannetti <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This study inductively explores the policy and populism dimensions of Italian political discourse on Twitter. Starting from a corpus of 25,000 tweets posted by a number of Italian political actors throughout a year (March 4</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">, 2018 – March 4</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">, 2019), we apply the Structural Topic Model to uncover the policy content underlying their political communication. Our results suggest that actors representing populist parties (i.e. M5S and </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lega</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">) were mostly interested in emphasizing the immigration issue, although to a different extent. In particular, the debate on immigration was dominated by the </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lega</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, suggesting that the party kept prioritizing the issue that occupied center stage in its electoral campaign. The M5S emphasized infrastructure that had been an essential component of its pro-environment stance, but they also gave room for immigration. Interestingly, our analysis also shows that populist tones are associated with different issues, with topics related to immigration displaying the highest populist tone. On the whole, our results are consistent with previous research showing that some issues such as immigration as closely aligned with populist parties.</span></p> 2020-11-09T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020 Claudia Roberta Combei, Matteo Farnè, Luca Pinto, Daniela Giannetti