A Long Way to Tipperary: Time in the Italian Legislative Process 1987–2008

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Authors: Enrico Borghetto and Marco Giuliani

Published: South European Society and Politics 17(1): 23–44 (2012)

The Italian legislature does not enjoy widespread trust. At least one of the reasons has to be the perception of its inefficiency. Comparatively, the Italian law-making process is slow and most policy-makers complain about the difficulties experienced in trying to speed up the process. In spite of the political relevance of the topic, the issue has not attracted much scientific attention. This study tries to cover that void, focusing explicitly on the temporal dimension of law-making and analysing the duration of more than 3,000 laws approved during the period of 1987?2008: 21 years of intense Italian political history. Our exploratory analysis finds that successful proposals spend most of their time in those stages preceding the discussion in parliament, waiting to find room on the agenda. Concentrating on ordinary laws, we realise that the factors that expedite a legislative process are its sponsorship, the procedure adopted, the policy sector, and the timing of introduction, whereas the level of consensus is not associated with the duration of the process.

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