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Legislative output and the Constitutional Court in Italy

Michele Santoni () and Francesco Zucchini

Constitutional Political Economy, 2006, vol. 17, issue 3, 165-187

Abstract: This paper considers the impact of the Constitutional Court on legislative output in Italy. Following Tsebelis’ ((2002) Veto Players: Foundations of Institutional Analysis. Princeton: Princeton University Press) 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). A rational choice theory of supreme court statutory decisions with applications to the state farm and grove city cases. Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization 6, 263–300). 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 to alter or not 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. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Keywords: Veto players; Constitutional Court; Legislative output; Italy; D72 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2006
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DOI: 10.1007/s10602-006-9003-z

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