I am one of the founders and principal investigators for the
Italian Policy Agendas Project and the
Portuguese Policy Agendas Project.
I am also coordinating the Jean Monnet Module REPLAN-EU “Implementing Resilience and Recovery Plans in Italy and beyond”.
PhD in Political Studies, 2007
University of Milan
Degree in International and Diplomatic Sciences, 2003
University of Bologna (Forlì)
The emergence and spread of the Covid-19 emergency in Italy, as in the rest of the world, required parliaments to balance two priorities: ensuring the continuity of parliamentary work and protecting the health of their members and staff. If, in some legislative assemblies, the difficult balance between the right to health and the functioning of parliamentary institutions has been pursued through the implementation of measures that contemplate the use of remote participation and voting, the choices made by the Italian chambers have been more conservative, never coming to favor such solutions, at least in the plenary. This paper contributes to the debate on the digitization of parliamentary assemblies by analyzing the political reasons behind the decision to maintain the status quo in Italy, a country where the containment measures to limit the spread of Covid-19 were among the strictest in the world.
The identification of problem information is an important driver of political attention in parliament. This is widely acknowledged in the literature on party competition but there has been surprisingly little empirical research on the extent and when it matters. By relying on an extensive cross-country data set matching data on the policy content of parliamentary oral questions from ten European parliamentary democracies with well-established problem indicators (economy, immigration, and terrorism), this study sets out to answer these important questions. Our time series analysis reveals that not all problem indicators drive political attention in parliament to the same extent and that responsiveness varies based on differences in how government and opposition parties strategically take up problems as well as a partisan logic between left and right parties. While real world problem indicators can be a strong driver of parliamentary attention, that drive is still filtered through political and institutional processes.
This article explores trends in overall levels of democratic support in Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Greece. Additionally, the article examines the extent to which the experience of the steep economic downturn in Southern Europe had specific effects on democratic support across different generations and ideological groups by examining survey data that span three decades. The evidence is mixed concerning the resilience of democratic values in the four South European countries, ranging from stability in Portugal to noticeable decline in Italy. Members of the ‘millennial’ generation appear to be more susceptible to the period effect of the crisis, whereas left-wing and centrist citizens are more likely to select democracy as the best form of government compared to right-wing citizens.
The COVID-19 pandemic challenged parliamentary decision-making, which is normally based on time-consuming deliberation and scrutiny. We ask how national parliaments met this challenge during the first wave in the spring 2020, and we argue that institutional powers of the executive designed to handle crises just like a pandemic, paradoxically, increase challenges to democratic decision-making because the parliament misses opportunities to negotiate institutional adjustments accommodating pressure of government takeover. We evaluate this argument based on a comparative study of parliamentary activity in Italy and Denmark during the first wave of COVID-19 and find that both parliaments came under pressure with regard to law-making and control, but only the Danish parliament was able to install effective mechanisms to regain lost powers. It is too early to conclude on parliamentary consequences of COVID-19, but our study suggests that parliamentary reforms in response to the COVID-19 democratic challenges will mainly manifest in political systems without strong institutions to handle states of emergency.
This article investigates the relationship between economic inequality and legislative agendas. It argues that rising inequality makes agenda setting especially vulnerable to the influence of economic elites, and that elites use their influence to keep redistributive policies from receiving governmental attention. Empirical tests use data on public laws and bills introduced in the legislatures of five European countries between 1981 and 2012, and the United States between 1948 and 2015. As inequality becomes more acute, we observe a migration in legislative attention away from issues dealing with the social safety-net. These effects are more pronounced earlier in the policy process, which is consistent with the idea that elites can act as gatekeepers of legitimate policy ideas. These findings suggest that economic stratification shapes the policymaking debate in ways that make redistribution less likely.