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Corruption-mitigating Policies: The Case of Italy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 January 2016

James L. Newell*
School of English, Sociology, Politics and Contemporary History, University of Salford, Salford M5 4WT, UK. E-mail:


One of the circumstances likely to be associated with the intensity of both investigative and legislative efforts designed to curb political and bureaucratic corruption is institutional reform. Since the characteristics of electoral and party systems seem to be associated with variations in the intensity of anti-corruption efforts cross-nationally, it was reasonable to think that changes in the characteristics of these systems in Italy in the 1990s would be reflected in a corresponding change in the efforts of legislators and members of the judiciary to tackle corruption. Prior to the 1990s Italy's tripolar party system and its numerous concomitants placed considerable obstacles in the way of the willingness and the ability of judicial investigators and parliamentarians to deal with the corruption emergency. The 1993 electoral law reform, the eventual emergence of a largely bipolar party system and the circumstances surrounding these processes considerably diminished the significance of the aforementioned obstacles, yet there has been little noticeable increase in anti-corruption efforts. This is probably explicable in terms of the electoral effects of such efforts and suggests that institutional change is at most only one of a number of conditions that must be fulfilled in order for more strenuous efforts to be observed.

Copyright © Association for the study of Modern Italy 

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7. To these one might add associational initiatives, both by professional interest groups and by universal pressure groups, such as Transparency International. The focus here is on politico-legislative and judicial-investigative efforts, since it is these efforts that would appear most likely to be affected by institutional change and because, ultimately, it is by means of their impact on such efforts that associational initiatives by and large have their effect, if any. Such initiatives belong to the category of public pressure.Google Scholar

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