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.
This chapter deals with the internal decision-making process of political executives in parliamentary systems, that is, how executives take their own collective decisions. The focus is on the cabinet system as a whole, including both cabinet members and other involved party-political and bureaucratic actors. In particular, the chapter reviews literature’s debates about the nature of cabinet government, the role of prime ministers, and variations of decision-making. A special attention is payed to factors explaining intra-cabinet power distribution and the choice of different decision-making arenas. After introducing the topic, an overview of conceptual issues and main research questions is provided. Subsequently, the work discusses the way in which scholars have addressed these issues and the findings they have reached. The final part stresses existing deficits and seeks to set the agenda for future research.
Michael X. Delli Carpini and Bruce A. Williams
The media landscape of countries across the globe is changing in profound ways that are of relevance to the study and practice of political campaigns and elections. This chapter uses the concept of media regimes to put these changes in historical context and describe the major drivers that lead to a regime’s formation, institutionalization, and dissolution. It then turns to a more detailed examination of the causes and qualities of what is arguably a new media regime that has formed in the United States; the extent to which this phenomenon has or is occurring (albeit in different ways) elsewhere; and how the conduct of campaigns and elections are changing as a result. The chapter concludes with thoughts on the implications of the changing media landscape for the study and practice of campaigns and elections specifically, and democratic politics more generally.
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.
Candidates in constituency campaigns are important agents in the representative process. This chapter surveys the state of the literature that relates to the extent to which and how constituency candidates facilitate accountable and responsive government. Particularly, it asks about who candidates are, how they campaign, and how this affects the representative process. Furthermore, it explores the sources of individual level variance with regard to campaign effort and style. Our literature survey indicates the existence of pronounced variance in constituency level campaign effort and candidate behaviour that results from electoral incentives but also from individual and party level factors. It stresses the consequential nature of such differences since they determine what voters learn about politics in election campaigns and what policies parliaments pursue beyond Election Day.
Dennis C. Grube
Constructivism is a theoretical perspective that embraces the inherent uncertainties of human experience. In the study of political executives, this has manifested itself as seeking to understand and analyse how the ideas of actors are expressed through discourse, and how discourse in turn interacts with culture, context, data and perceived interests to shape projections of political reality. Constructivists examine both how political actors seek to frame the world that they see and how the wider citizenry frame their own perceptions in return in a constant iterative and recursive process of communication. This chapter outlines how constructivist approaches have been applied to the study of political executives to date, and suggests some potentially fruitful areas of future research for the decade ahead.
This chapter discusses the mentality structures that must be encultured in a population to allow it to sustain stable democracy. Contrary to the mainstream in the literature, I argue that mass support for democracy, as expressed in surveys, is a rather deceptive indicator of a population’s cultural affinity to democracy. The reason is that support for democracy obscures firmly encultured differences in how people understand democracy. These differences in understanding render numerically similar support ratings incomparable across different populations. By contrast, emancipative values—which emphasize freedom of choice and equality of opportunities—base people’s notion of democracy on a similarly liberal understanding of the term. Hence, overt support for democracy is conducive to actual democracy only in conjunction with emancipative values, but not in dissociation from them. In conclusion, emancipative values represent the most important mentality element of a democratic culture.
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.
Descriptive representation—understood as a concern that the gender and ethnic composition of elected assemblies should roughly correspond to the gender and ethnic composition of their electorate—is increasingly accepted as a legitimate political aim, but also remains contested. This chapter sets out key reasons why this aspect of representation matters, including some reasons why ‘descriptive representation’ may not be the best term. It addresses three perennial concerns: worries about essentialism; disagreements about the extent to which it implies a form of group representation; and questions about whose exclusion matters. In the final section, the chapter considers how the still growing body of initiatives to address political under-representation by gender and ethnicity relates to the populist politics that characterizes many liberal (and other) democracies today.
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.
Hanna Bäck and Royce Carroll
The distribution of ministerial posts is an important step in the democratic process in parliamentary democracies, as ministers are likely to influence the policy outputs of governments. Several scholars have thus aimed to explain and predict portfolio allocation in parliamentary democracies. Some scholars have focused exclusively on predicting how many portfolios each party gets, whereas others have focused on predicting which party gets which post. There is also a growing field that focuses on understanding why certain individuals are selected to the cabinet, and why some individuals stay longer in their posts whereas others are shuffled out early. Few studies have connected these questions, fully aiming to explain the distribution of posts between and within political parties negotiating to enter government. We suggest that this is an important step for future research
Does Economic and Political Integration Undermine Representative Democracy?: Lessons from the 2008 Economic Crisis in the European Union
Jorge M. Fernandes and Pedro C. Magalhães
The Great Recession and the Eurozone crisis are frequently treated as having led to a breakdown in democratic representation in Europe, as deeply constrained governments became unable to translate the preferences of citizenry into actual policy. However, after reviewing the available evidence, we find that the crisis seems to have contributed to increasing both the salience of economic policy issues and the ideological differentiation around them, amongst both parties and voters. Furthermore, the composition of governments remained relevant for the policy responses to the crisis, even among those countries that were most deeply affected. To be sure, the picture regarding the extent to which governments remained responsive to changing citizen preferences remains very incomplete. However, the existing evidence warns against underestimating the resilience of the mechanisms that contribute to keep re-election-minded officials in line with the preferences of citizens, even in what concerns supranational policymaking.
This chapter considers what we have learned—and still have to learn—from research on dynamic representation in the United States and other countries. To begin with, it provides a basic theoretical exposition and then traces the previous research, organized based on the dependent variables that the scholarship has employed: the priorities and positions of elected officials, legislative votes, and policy decisions. There is substantial evidence that changing public opinion matters for all of these but that the effect does not hold universally. Issues matter and institutions do too, and under the best of circumstances, the public is just one of many factors that matter to policymakers. Indeed, we sometimes observe little impact of public opinion at all, and this is in large part because of the public’s own inattention to policy actions themselves.