Interest Groups & Advocacy

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 68–90 | Cite as

Exploring the impact of partisan gatekeeping on interest group representation and bias: the case of Italy (1987–2015)

  • Andrea PritoniEmail author
Original Article


With a very few exceptions, scholars have devoted little attention to the analysis of the Italian interest system so far. This paper aims to address exactly this lacuna. Following a diachronic perspective, the combination of a population ecology approach with the analysis of interest groups’ access to parliament makes it possible to measure the level of bias characterising a fundamental part of interest group representation in Italy. Empirical findings suggest that—over time—the density of the system increased, and also diversity changed to a great extent. Furthermore, the Italian interest system—at least with regard to parliamentary access—appears less biased in recent years than it was in the 1980s. Among the potential factors that pushed in this direction, this article sheds light on a factor often neglected in the literature: the impact of parties and party systems on interest group representation and bias. More precisely, due to the political and institutional turmoil of early 1990s, parties lost their previous role of policy gatekeepers and this implied that the policymaking process is now more chaotic, as well as open to many more different actors than it was in the past, when only interest groups which were ‘collateral’ to parties could have a role in the policymaking.


Interest groups Italian politics Representation Institutional access 



Funding was provided by Scuola Normale Superiore (Grant No. GR16B).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political and Social SciencesScuola Normale SuperioreFlorenceItaly

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