Legislative output and the Constitutional Court in Italy

  • Santoni M
  • Zucchini F
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Abstract

This paper considers the impact of the Constitutional Court on legislative output in Italy. Following Tsebelis' (2002) veto players model and the stylised facts as regards the Italian Constitutional Court's activity, this paper presents a multi-stage game in the spirit of Gely and Spiller (1990). In the first stage, the legislative veto players, namely the parties in government, choose whether to change or not the policy status quo by enacting new legislation. In the second stage, the Court makes a constitutional interpretation: it decides whether or not to alter the outcome of the first stage through a sentence of constitutional illegitimacy. The Court has both the power of annulling laws and a limited power of creating new legally binding norms. Moreover, in the third stage, a constitutional law voted by a parliamentary qualified majority can overturn the Court's decisions. The model predicts that the presence of the Court lowers legislative policy change and tests this prediction with 1956-2001 annual time series data for Italy.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Constitutional Court
  • Italy
  • Legislative output
  • Veto players

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Authors

  • Michele Santoni

  • Francesco Zucchini

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