Moro and Berlinguer were instrumental in the rapprochement between the Communist Party and Christian Democracy (DC) in the mid-1970s. As President of the DC, Moro identified cooperation with the Communists as a way to tackle the backwardness and divisions of Italian society and the unevenness of economic development. As leader of the Italian Communist Party (PCI), Berlinguer steered the party away from the USSR and improved relations with the Catholic Church. He thought Italian democracy could be strengthened only through a convergence between the DC and the PCI. In 1976 cooperation was inaugurated: the Communists allowed the formation of a DC government by not voting against it. However, Moro recognized the impossibility of a full alliance, seeing as the Americans remained opposed. Cooperation was short-lived after Moro’s murder by the Red Brigades in 1978: Berlinguer was unable to gain legitimation for the PCI’s continuing collaboration with the DC.
The Italian state apparatus has been characterized by a mix of surprising continuity and substantial change. Adaptation was prompted not so much by attempts at reform as by pressures stemming from the changing economic and institutional context. Driven by increasing economic differentiation, the size of the administration expanded particularly in the period after World War I and in the Fascist period. The expansion intensified after World War II, partly to enhance the system of patronage that characterized the postwar political system. Economic and social changes, combined with pressures stemming from the “Europeanization” of policymaking led to a series of changes from the 1970s. In particular, agencies outside the main administrative apparatus proliferated and power was devolved toward regional and local administrations. Since 1990 a series of reforms have led to further devolution, but attempts to improve the qualification of the workforce have arguably reinforced the politicization of the bureaucracy.
The exponential growth in the complexity of human exchange has led to two major developments in the protected world of the diplomat: the entry into intergovernmental business of most other government departments (and some non-governmental ones); and the heightening of the short-term political sensitivity of overseas business. Both these factors have brought the head of government into closer daily control of foreign affairs and subtracted from the foreign ministry’s exclusivity. Professional diplomats, reporting to the foreign minister, no longer find it possible to coordinate the total interface with other states’ representatives or to claim a monopoly on the handling or interpreting of external factors in their country’s set of interests. This article examines the standard structures of foreign ministries; the relevance of diplomacy to modern international transactions; where diplomacy ends and technical intergovernmental interface begins; how foreign ministries are responding to the need for cross-government teamwork; and what twenty-first-century systems are being devised, under political direction, as the best ways to coordinate the very complicated set of foreign policy requirements that a nation state confronts. In doing so, it points out how carefully governments must plan their investment in foreign policy and diplomatic capability, and how necessary it is for systems to adapt to global change.
Sharon Gilad and Nissim Cohen
Studies of the Israeli public sector point to the vast influence of the Ministry of Finance (MOF) across multiple policy domains. This chapter combines bureaucratic politics research and the notion of veto players to theorize a two-tiered power game between bureaucratic and political players. It argues that the policy influence of bureaucracies is shaped by stable institutional factors and by the extent to which powerful politicians are inclined to intervene. In Israel, legal provisions vest the MOF with an institutional advantage over other bureaus and their ministers. Yet the MOF’s ability to exploit its advantaged position is contingent upon the joint propensity of the prime minister (PM) and the finance minister (FM) to forgo intervention. The chapter associates the PM’s and FM’s inclination to support the MOF with their political motivation to maintain their grip on the agenda of an increasingly fragmented coalition government. Thus, the MOF’s supremacy is reliant upon, and underpins, political power.
This chapter examines The Power Elite, a radical work by C. Wright Mills that challenges the foundations of US liberal democracy and analyses the conditions under which democratic pluralism in the country can be reversed. Focusing on the theory of divided and united elites in relation to the system of checks and balances, Mills argues that the emergence of a power elite in the United States after 1945 necessitates a reevaluation of the foundations of democratic pluralism due to the significant changes in the competition for power and alternation in office at different levels of government. He also contends that members of only three elite groups had access to positions of national power: the “corporate rich,” the “warlords,” and the members of the “political directorate.” This chapter considers the rise and the fall of the elite model by assessing the four strands of Mills’s thought, one of which concerns the formation of state elites as the “true” power elite.
Democrazia Cristiana (DC) was the cornerstone of the First Republic. Thanks to the Communist Party’s exclusion from government, the DC was the core of government, dominating the political arena. Changes in government were often a consequence of factional struggles within the DC rather than elections. But the DC’s factionalism, fuelled by preference voting, had the effect of precluding strong individual leadership. From the 1950s, the DC effectively “occupied” the state, exerting control over its institutions and resources and directing them to fuel its own patronage networks. Yet behind the DC’s success lay the roots of its demise: its vote share declined and the corruption underpinning its patronage system proved to be its undoing with the start of the Mani Pulite investigation in 1992.
The early postwar years marked a challenging and dynamic phase for Christian Democracy (DC). In this period, the party stabilized the county and shaped its democratic institutions in a spirit of national reconciliation, while working for Italy’s modernization and its inclusion in the “West.” After the split with the Communists, the party appeared both as a bastion against communism and as promoter of modernization, combining social progress with traditional Italian values. In the 1950s, the party was torn: while many of its leaders aimed at “opening to the left” to tackle the country’s social challenges with other political forces, mounting anticommunism and Church pressures pushed it right. The “opening to the left” materialized with the formation of the first center-left government in 1962, marking the peak of Christian Democracy’s reformism. However this government was met with strong opposition, and by 1964 this most reformist phase of the DC’s rule had ended.
Mathew D. McCubbins
In all democracies, whether presidential or parliamentary, the chain of political delegation is a complex process involving a multitude of principals, many of which are frequently replaced. This presents common-agency problems for bureaucrats and politicians—that is, they must be answerable to many different principals. The fractured and temporally unstable nature of democratic leadership makes political oversight of bureaucracy a particularly problematic link in the process by which the government is controlled by citizens. Legislatures can mitigate the agency problems associated with delegation using one of four approaches: contract design, screening/selection, monitoring/reporting requirements, and institutional checks. Thischapter examines the common-agency problem and the legislative control of the bureaucracy. It begins with a review of the positive and normative literature on delegation and oversight. More specifically, it considers the normative debate on who should control the bureaucracy, as well as the positive debate on who actually controls the bureaucracy. It concludes by addressing research frontiers in the study of oversight.
The Italian Communist Party (PCI) has been the subject of sustained scholarly attention. The narrative of its development over the postwar period and beyond the fall of Soviet Communism is well chronicled. The structure and evolution of support for the Communist Party has received less attention. This chapter draws upon a rich vein of sociological research to show how support for the PCI moved grew beyond the boundaries of its ideological core, and how it shrank back down to that solid central component. In part, this research shows the strength of popular allegiance to the organization structure of the party; in part it shows the resilience of Italian communist “sub-culture.” The co-option of opposition both outside and within the party was also important. The PCI effectively ceased to exist in 1991 and yet its legacy extends to today’s Democratic Party.
Toke Aidt and Gabriel Leon
Coups, understood as attempts to overthrow the sitting executive government by a group inside the state apparatus that includes part of the military, shape competition for office in authoritarian regimes. They do that both directly through actual coups and indirectly through the threat of a coup, which forces incumbent autocrats to balance loyalty and repression to pre-empt being overthrown. The chapter presents a framework for the study of coups and uses it to examine how coups can help select autocrats and to some extent keep them accountable. It presents a number of stylized facts about coups and summarizes the theoretical and empirical literature on the role of coups in autocracies.
This chapter examines David B. Truman’s book The Governmental Process(1951, 1971), which offers a classic pluralist analysis of interest groups and their relationships with political decision-makers, as well as their significance in American politics. It considers the arguments put forward by some scholars challenging Truman’s views, including Rothman, Olson, and Lindblom. It then discusses two elements of Truman’s account that he deems significant and to require special emphasis: the notion of multiple or overlapping membership and the function of unorganized interests, or potential interest groups. The chapter also evaluates Truman’s views about business groups and concludes with an assessment of the impact of social media on group politics within his framework.
Wendy J. Schiller
This article discusses the capacity of Congress elections to serve as an effective electoral mechanism in democracy. It discusses scholarship and studies that focuses on congressional elections and provides additional questions that should be asked regarding congressional elections. The article begins with the evolution of scholarship of congressional elections. After discussing development of congressional elections, the article looks at some crucial questions on congressional elections such as: What is the effect of geographical boundaries on congressional elections? What is the role played by ballot structure and voting procedures in congressional elections? What are the changes on party organization control of nomination and the general election process? How have congressional elections served as a mechanism of accountability over time? How have congressional elections served as instruments of participation and representation? The last section here discusses future areas of research on congressional election. The discussed avenues for future research include: candidate emergence, impact of social movements, redistricting, and technological innovation in campaign communication.
Keith T. Poole
The chapter discusses different ways to estimate the dimensionality of roll-call voting data. These methods use data from the U.S. House of Representatives, and the author shows that there were periods when a two-dimensional representation was necessary and others when a one-dimensional representation captures all but a relatively small percentage of the variance. The author then considers data from the UN General Assembly from before the fall of the Berlin Wall, finding a communist vs. anti-communist dimension and a pro- and anti-Israel dimension, as well as data from the French National Assembly early in the 5th Republic that finds a one-dimensional representation fits nearly perfectly. The author then considers some more technical issues about best methods, concluding that there is no foolproof way of determining the “true” dimensionality of a roll-call matrix, and no substitute for substantive understanding of the politics and policy shaping the roll calls.
A crucial aspect of Nigeria’s political development involves imbibing, nurturing, and sustaining the political institutions and practices it inherited after its independence in 1960. Elections are one of the most important political practices handed down to Nigeria by the British colonialists. This chapter examines the issues and forces that shape efforts to foster the institutions and practice of elections in Nigeria. Based on a survey of elections in Nigeria, the chapter notes that the country’s electoral process is essentially unstable; it then explains why Nigerian elections are volatile, and reviews measures taken to reform the electoral process in Nigeria.
Most research into electoral systems focuses on their effects. Only recently has a significant literature emerged examining how they are chosen. This chapter explores four core issues in that literature. First, it considers what is meant by “electoral system change.” This can refer to changes of any scale to any electoral rules in any context, but typically—including here—a narrower definition is used. Second, the chapter investigates what electoral system changes happen. It considers the frequency of reforms and patterns in those reforms. Third, it examines the determinants of electoral system change. Most studies focus on the microfoundations of reform. Others highlight the systemic level. Both perspectives are needed to develop a complete picture. Finally, the chapter gauges the effects of electoral system change and assesses why such changes, notwithstanding important effects, often fail to deliver on their promoters’ expectations.
Matthew S. Shugart and Rein Taagepera
The question of how electoral institutions affect party systems has been central to the literature on elections. For a given electoral system configuration, how many parties earn votes and win seats? How large is the largest party’s share of all votes and seats? This varies from country to country, from election to election, and, inside the country, from district to district. Yet two institutional inputs—district magnitude and assembly size—determine the worldwide averages surprisingly well, and they do so for well-defined logical reasons. These worldwide averages supply benchmarks against which to compare individual countries, elections, and districts: given their two basic institutional inputs, do they have rather many or few parties, and by how much are they off, compared to logical average expectations? History, culture, and current politics account of course for which parties form and which of them is the largest, but institutions shape their number and sizes.
Matthew S. Shugart
The electoral system of Israel is an “extreme” example of proportional representation because of its use of a single nationwide district. This feature has been a constant since 1949, while secondary features, such as legal thresholds and the proportional seat-allocation formula, have changed and had an impact on degrees of proportionality. The party system is highly fragmented, as expected in extreme proportional systems. By applying the Seat Product Model to indices of election outcomes, it is possible to determine whether Israel’s system is more or less fragmented and proportional than expected for its institutional design. This chapter reports that the long-term average outputs are about as expected, but they have fluctuated over time. Some of these fluctuations reflect changes in the secondary features of the system, while others are the results of political factors independent of the institutions.
Brian F. Crisp and William M. Simoneau
Constituency service, addressing the nonpolicy grievances of constituents or looking out for their nonpolicy interests, provides legislators an opportunity to enhance their personal reputations. Electoral incentives are the primary explanation suggested for the amount of constituency service carried out by representatives. Variation in electoral rules, such as ballot type and district magnitude, can increase personal vote-seeking incentives, increasing the utility of constituency service as a means of winning re-election. In our opinion, measures of constituency service remain underdeveloped, and while there is widespread agreement on electoral incentives as the key determinant of constituency service, the consequences of constituency service remain elusive.
Most research on electoral systems deals with the effects of institutions on political representation. However, political parties design the electoral systems, and thereby navigate between self-interest and multiple, often nonreconcilable normative ideals. This chapter reviews the growing literature on the choice of electoral systems from different perspectives. Structural theories explain that the choice of electoral systems is closely linked to the history of suffrage extensions, cultural heterogeneity and the organization of the economy. Agency-based theories highlight how parliamentary majorities strategically pass electoral reforms in order to consolidate their power in the long run—for instance, in order to avoid future losses in elections. However, often lawmakers fail to predict their electoral fortunes and therefore pass reforms that turn out not to be in their favor, or they even contribute to undermining their own reforms later with strategic maneuvers. Finally, the chapter analyzes the choice of electoral system in the context of transitions toward democracies and in former colonies.
This article discusses the emergence of parties and party systems. It summarizes the two main competing explanations of party systems, which are the neo-institutionalist research agenda and the historical-sociological literature. It then evaluates their strengths and limitations. The last two sections are focused on a new method of restructuring the way people think about how parties emerged. This method eventually integrates both approaches within a broad analytical framework.