Cartel party literature has generated three lines of research investigating the transformation of party organizations, the party system, and policy output. The third line of research, which could be defined as the political economy of the cartel party, has shown that party systems resemble oligopolistic markets in two respects: the policy output has changed, and voters have the impression that changes in political supply did not represent adjustments to the transformation of voters’ demands. Yet literature on this subject has not provided any evidence to sustain the claim that parties’ behavior resembles the behavior of oligopolistic firms in a cartel. The purpose of the present article is to show that the legislative behavior of Italian parties gives the impression that Italian parties are engaged in collusive practices and that, for this reason, it is appropriate to regard the Italian party system not only as oligopolistic, but also as a cartel.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/riccardo_pelizzo/28/