Martini, S., and M. Quaranta. ‘Finding out the hard way: Uncovering the structural foundations of political dissatisfaction in Italy, 1973-2013.’ West European Politics 38.1 (2015): 28-52 Publisher link | Preprint


This article analyses the long-term dissatisfaction of citizens with democracy in Italy in the light of the economic and institutional transformations that have occurred over the last four decades. Using multilevel analysis, our results challenge previous research showing how bad economic performance in the form of unemployment and inflation has increased dissatisfaction. Most importantly, we demonstrate that the widespread political dissatisfaction can be connected to fragmentation of the party system. In this regard, we assess the impact of the electoral reforms that have been introduced. These favoured a recovery of satisfaction between the “First” and the “Second” Republic due to the emergence of bi-polar political competition. However, the effect has been contained by an inability to substantially reduce the number of parties. By drawing on compelling data, this study provides systematic evidence of the macro-foundations of Italian political discontent.

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