In this article, we distinguish legislative stability from government stability and argue that the character of the relationship that exists between them is a complex one in which various combinations are possible. We focus on Italy because of the manner in which it has combined legislative stability with government instability. Our findings indicate that the relationship between legislative and government stability in Italy is best seen as curvilinear, that the analysis of government stability must take the number of governments as well as the duration of governments into account, and that the attributes of the party system that stabilize the legislature destabilize governments. Given these findings, we discuss their implications for explaining stability in parliamentary regimes in terms of events, “strong parties," and strategic calculation. We conclude that legislative stability should not be treated simply as a secondary or derivative effect of government stability and that Italy can serve as a benchmark for further study of the nature and determinants of the relationship between the two in other parliamentary systems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science