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Making Democracy Work

Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy

Robert D. Putnam
Robert Leonardi
Raffaella Y. Nonetti
Copyright Date: 1993
Edition: STU - Student edition
Pages: 280
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  • Book Info
    Making Democracy Work
    Book Description:

    Why do some democratic governments succeed and others fail? In a book that has received attention from policymakers and civic activists in America and around the world, Robert Putnam and his collaborators offer empirical evidence for the importance of "civic community" in developing successful institutions. Their focus is on a unique experiment begun in 1970 when Italy created new governments for each of its regions. After spending two decades analyzing the efficacy of these governments in such fields as agriculture, housing, and health services, they reveal patterns of associationism, trust, and cooperation that facilitate good governance and economic prosperity.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-2074-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. CHAPTER 1 Introduction: Studying Institutional Performance
    (pp. 3-16)

    Why do some democratic governments succeed and others fail? This question, though ancient, is timely. As our tumultuous century draws to a close, the great ideological debates between liberal democrats and their adversaries are waning. Ironically, the philosophical ascendancy of liberal democracy is accompanied by growing discontent with its practical operations. From Moscow to East St. Louis, from Mexico City to Cairo, despair about public institutions deepens. As American democratic institutions begin their third century, a sense is abroad in the land that our national experiment in self-government is faltering. Half a world away, the former communist nations of Eurasia...

  2. CHAPTER 2 Changing the Rules: Two Decades of Institutional Development
    (pp. 17-62)

    The Italian regional experiment inaugurated in 1970 remains, as Sidney Tarrow observed, “one of the few recent attempts to create new representative institutions in the nation-states of the West.”¹ In an era of heightened hopes for democratization in other parts of the globe, lessons from the Italian experience are especially relevant, for at issue is how changes in formal institutions induce changes in political behavior.² One conundrum facing would-be reformers in former authoritarian states is whether rewriting the rules of the game will produce the intended effects—or any effects at all—in how it is actually played. The Italian...

  3. CHAPTER 3 Measuring Institutional Performance
    (pp. 63-82)

    “Who governs?” and “How well?” are the two most basic questions of political science. The former raises issues of distribution and redistribution: “Who Gets What, When, and How?” Such issues have been at the forefront of the discipline’s debates in recent decades. By contrast, rigorous appraisals of institutional performance are rare, even though “good government” was once at the top of our agenda. The undeniable admixture of normative judgments in any inquiry about performance and effectiveness has made most scholars over the last forty years reluctant to pursue such questions:de gustibus non disputandum est,at least in a value-free,...

  4. CHAPTER 4 Explaining Institutional Performance
    (pp. 83-120)

    It is best to begin a journey of exploration with a map. Figure 4.1 shows the level of institutional performance of each of Italy’s twenty regions. The most striking feature of this map is the strong North-South gradient. Although the correlation between latitude and institutional performance is not perfect, the northern regional governments as a group have been more successful than their southern counterparts. To be sure, this discovery is not unexpected. In the words of a thousand travelogues, “the South is different.”

    We shall have occasion to return to this conspicuous contrast between North and South in Chapters 5...

  5. CHAPTER 5 Tracing the Roots of the Civic Community
    (pp. 121-162)

    Our inquiry into the performance of Italian regional governments in the 1970s and 1980s has pinpointed the unique character of civic life in some regions. Following that thread now draws us deep into the contrasting pasts of Italy’s regions. Our story begins with a momentous time of transition on the Italian peninsula nearly a thousand years ago, as Italians were emerging from that obscure era justly termed the Dark Ages. Early medieval Italy, when our story opens, was closer to ancient Rome than to our own times, not only chronologically but also in everyday ways of life. Nevertheless, social patterns...

  6. CHAPTER 6 Social Capital and Institutional Success
    (pp. 163-186)

    Collective life in the less civic regions of Italy has been blighted for a thousand years and more. Why? It can hardly be thathe inhabitants prefer solitary and submisive squalor.¹ Foreign opresion might once have ben part of thexplanation for their plight, buthe regional experiment suggests that self-government is no panacea. One is tempted to ask in exasperation: Have people in these troubled regions learned nothing at all from their melancholy experience? Surely they must se thathey would all be better off if only everyone would cooperate for the common good.² David Hume, theightenth-century Scotish philosopher, ofered a simple parable...

  7. APPENDIX A Research Methods
    (pp. 187-192)
  8. APPENDIX B Statistical Evidence on Attitude Change among Regional Councilors
    (pp. 193-197)
  9. APPENDIX C Institutional Performance (1978-1985)
    (pp. 198-199)
  10. APPENDIX D Regional Abbreviations Used in Scattergrams
    (pp. 200-200)
  11. APPENDIX E Local Government Performance (1982–1986) and Regional Government Performance (1978–1985)
    (pp. 201-204)
    (pp. 205-206)