Parties’ influence during government policy negotiations: parliamentary dynamics and spatial advantages in the First Italian Republic

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Authors: Luigi Curini and Andrea Ceron

Published: Journal of Legislative Studies (forthcoming)

As long as they are interested in policies, parties  have  always  incentives for affecting the outcome of a cabinet bargaining process. Of course,  they   do not necessarily enjoy the same  ability in doing so. Being a member of a government, for example, should increase the leverage a party enjoys during the bargaining process on a given cabinet program. Still, depending on the institutional and political conditions, also non-cabinet parties  can have a voice in affecting cabinet policy positions. This happens in particular when the agenda-setting power enjoyed by the cabinet is low, or when the majority is not well disciplined, or both. By focusing on the cabinet bargaining  outcomes during the so-called  First Italian Republic, a textbook example of the latter situation, we show that  spatial advantages connected to parliamentary dynamics, and therefore  opened to non-cabinet parties as well,  can  be no less relevant in capturing policy-payoffs than government membership, even after controlling for other relevant institutional and behavioural factors.