Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2463

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Does Changing Electoral Systems Affect (Corrupt) Particularistic Exchanges? Evidence from the Italian Case

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Abstract:  The literature on forms of particularism explores the impact of institutional variables on what is denoted, alternatively, as constituency service, pork-barrel politics, or corruption. Attention has mostly been given to electoral systems, but other institutional provisions and political factors, such as party strength, are also relevant. The present contribution investigates the likely effects of electoral reforms on corruption control and seeks confirmation of the hypothesis that single member plurality (even within mixed member) systems are conducive to a type of particularism that might help fight corruption, taking Italy as a case. We test the impact of two electoral reforms and three electoral systems enacted in Italy between 1996 and 2016, whose primary aim was bolstering enfeebled party leaderships and facilitating the formation of durable governments, and we compare the effort at corruption control of the Italian governments born under these different electoral systems with those of other European democracies.

Keywords:  corruption; electoral reforms; Italy; particularism; personalism


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© Simona Piattoni, Matteo Fabio Nels Giglioli. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.