Author: Enrico Borghetto and Francesco Visconti
The consequences of the Italian transition from a pivotal to an alternational party system have been widely documented and analysed. As far as the policy consequences are concerned, much scholarly attention has been devoted to the pre-enactment phase (dependent variable declined in terms of duration, productivity, direction of change, respect of electoral pledges), while neglecting what happens after a bill becomes law. This study aims to study through a large-N research design how and why post-enactment policy change differs under the two regimes. The present work focuses on the Italian case and aims at exploring two related dimensions of policy change in the post-enactment phase:
– Intensity of change. How much does a law change?
– Pace of change. How long does a law last before being amended?
The data are drawn from a new online full-text database on Italian legislation available since 2010: Normattiva. Its main peculiarity and innovation compared to previous databases consists in reporting all changes a law has experienced since its enactment. In particular, it allows to compare the text of the same act at different stages of its life and thus track the entity of changes produced by different amendments at different points in time. The dataset contains information on the life of laws (updated up to 21st of April 2011) enacted by the Italian Parliament in four legislatures.