Redistribution and Reelection Under Proportional Representation: The Postwar Italian Chamber of Deputies
Miriam A. Golden
University of California at Los Angeles
University of Bologna - Department of Economics; IPTS JRC - European Commission
April 26, 2012
We study incumbency advantage in Italy’s lower house of representatives, the Chamber of Deputies, over ten legislative periods (1948–1992) for two political parties, Christian Democracy and the Italian Socialist Party. Our baseline analysis adapts a regression-discontinuity design to open-list proportional representation. Results show that the average legislator enjoyed no incumbency advantage, even suffering a disadvantage when relisting is considered. Most deputies served no more than two terms, chiefly because they were not reselected. A small DC (PSI) elite served many terms, rose to ministerial rank, and received significantly more individual preference votes when infrastructure investments (disability pensions) were steered to their districts. Data supports the interpretation that illegal kickbacks helped fuel elite DC careers. Our analysis depicts an environment severely segmented between a tiny, powerful party leadership and politically invisible backbenchers. Where political party leaders determine candidate selection, as typically obtains in parliamentary systems, this is probably the norm.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 44
Keywords: incumbency advantage, legislatures, political parties, regression discontinuity, proportional representation, Italy
JEL Classification: D72, H41, H50, H72working papers series
Date posted: April 28, 2012
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