The Political Economy of Polarization: The Italian Case, 1963-1987
Economic voting in Italy has received scant attention in the literature, and the few studies available show little or no empirical support for economic voting hypotheses as applied to Italy. We argue that this dearth of results is primarily due to poor operationalization and study design. In contrast to previous studies that focused on the relationship between the state of the economy and the electoral performance of individual parties, we investigate the impact of prices, employment, and economic output on the polarization of the party system. Using data on seven Italian national elections covering the period 1963-87, we show that polarization is, in fact, closely related to macroeconomic performance. Additionally, in contrast to past studies of Italy, the results are robust with respect to the lag period of the economic variables.
Politics and Policy