Just Published! Trade Unions and Parties in Italy (1946-2014)


Trade Unions and Parties in Italy: The “Transmission Belt”

South European Society & Politics (Journal IF: 2.018)

Co-author: Fedra Negri

Replication material: andreaceron.com/publications

Codebook & Trade Unions Data: available in the online appendix

Acknowledgments: Liborio Mattina, Marcello Natili, and Furio Stamati, as well as participant at the annual general conference of the Italian Political Science Association, Milan, 15-17 September 2016.

What is worth remembering:

  • By hand-coding the motions of Trade Unions’ congresses we estimate their policy positions
  • We notice a transmission belt linking left-wing parties and Trade Unions
  • This relationship gets broken as left-wing parties incur in a process of “cartelization”


The paper investigates party-union relationships in Italy (1946–2014) by hand-coding parties’ parliamentary speeches and trade unions’ congress motions. In line with the cartel party thesis, a time series analysis shows that the ideological closeness between the left-wing Italian General Confederation of Labour and left-wing parties deteriorated when the Italian Socialist Party (1980) and the heirs of the Italian Communist Party (1998) converged toward the centre of the ideological spectrum. Conversely, the closeness between the Catholic-inspired Italian Confederation of Workers’ Unions and the heirs of Christian Democracy increased after 1994, when the former party’s leftist factions became the major part of the Italian Popular Party.