Maurizio Franzini, Eugenio Levi

Exit, Voice and the decline of traditional parties in Italy

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In this article, we apply Hirschman's categories of "Exit" and "Voice" the voice of minority groups and induced them to practice exit more frequently. Moreover, the establishment of direct relationships between the leader and the electorate has left no role for the voice of regular members. The implication of this process is a decline in the quality of democracy, i.e. less participation to vote and less trust toward political parties. to the recent evolution of Italian political parties. In particular, we study the impact of the personalization of politics on the exit and voice of minority groups and regular party members within Partito Democratico and Forza Italia. Our main argument is that more powerful leaders have undermined the voice of minority groups and induced them to practice exit more frequently. Moreover, the establishment of direct relationships between the leader and the electorate has left no role for the voice of regular members. The implication of this process is a decline in the quality of democracy, i.e. less participation to vote and less trust toward political parties.

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