Party Patronage in Italy: A Matter for Solitary Leaders

Fabrizio Di Mascio

in Party Patronage and Party Government in European Democracies

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199599370
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741517 | DOI:

Series: Comparative Politics

Party Patronage in Italy: A Matter for Solitary Leaders

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This chapter explores the recent trends of patronage in Italy. The empirical analysis reveals still high, albeit decreasing, aggregate levels of political appointments in Italy, while at the same time highlighting a clear-cut shift in the patterns of politicization of the state, stimulated by both party system change and waves of institutional reforms. The clientelist style of patronage politics has diminished in importance as a mechanism of electoral linkage after the collapse of the old party system that occurred in the early 1990s. Nonetheless, the rapid bipolar restructuring of a fragmented and unstable party system encouraged the use of patronage practices aimed at rent-seeking within the state. The empirical analysis also identifies causal mechanisms and processes that explain why contemporary patronage processes are dominated by the party leaders, who exploit the institutional legacy of a weak state in order to cement their own personal power bases.

Keywords: Italy; Napoleonic state; Southern Europe; clientelism; party system institutionalization; democratic consolidation; state capture

Chapter.  8089 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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