1. The Political Careers of Prime Ministers in Europe, 1945-2016. Do Different Democracies Select Different Leaders? (book project) (with Ferdinand Müller-Rommel, Leuphana University of Lüneburg) The main research questions of this book project are: ‘is there any recruitment pattern of prime ministers in democracies?’; ‘do different types of democracies recruit different kinds of leaders?’; ‘if yes, can a trend towards convergence between European democracies can be detected over years?’. Political careers are the dependent variable of this study, whereas the independent variables are derived from three main literature strands: (1) elite recruitment; (2) presidentialization/personalization of politics; (3) transformation of democracy. In particular, the work investigates the impact of path dependence of institutional and party factors on the political recruitment of prime ministers.
2. Cabinet Decision-Making in Parliamentary Systems The project aims to systematize the literature on cabinet decision-making in parliamentary (and semi-presidential) systems. It pays attention to the main questions at issue, to how scholars address them and the answers they provide, to the main deficits in the field, and to how these deficits could be tackled for a future research agenda. 3. Definitions and Measurements of Institutionalization of New Personal Parties. The case of the 5Star Movement (with Fortunato Musella, University of Naples Federico II) This project tries to unify different strands of literature on party institutionalization into a common framework and, secondly, to use this framework for the analysis of a new party of the Italian party system: the Five Star Movement (M5S). The final aim is to provide new insights on party stabilization's conditions and party system changes. The Five Star Movement has recently emerged as one the most important party players in terms of public support in Italy. The fluidity of its organization and the uncertainty of future developments makes this new party an interesting case study for the study of new parties' institutionalization in established democracies. The project proposes a multidimensional conceptualization of party institutionalization and seeks to build a relevant index for empirical research.
4. Constitutional Reforms of Bicameralism in Times of Crisis in Europe Based on the functional literature on parliaments and bicameralism, the project aims to propose to use a new theoretical framework for the study of parliamentarism in the European Member States. Moreover, it aims to assess how political elites have tried to reform parliamentary second chambers to cope with the new challenges posed by the economic crisis, the electoral success of Eurosceptic parties, and the dissolution of traditional patterns of party competition and representation. A particular focus is on the directions taken by recent attempts of reform (2005-2016) in Germany, Ireland, Italy, Romania, Spain, UK. Multiple indicators for measuring chambers’ positions on different dimensions of analysis are used.
5. Legislative Turnover in the Italian Parliament (with Eugenio Salvati, University of Pavia) This project aims to analyze the dynamics of legislative turnover in Italy of recent years from a diachronic perspective. Secondly, it tries to understand whether classic theories of legislative turnover can account for recent trends of Italian politics or alternative explanations, based on party institutionalization, apply. The empirical focus is on the period 1994-2018.