In the 1970s, new representative institutions were created in the twenty regions that make up Italy. The Italian government wanted to bring governance closer to the people, so that 'the citizens of Seveso and Pietrapertosa were now directed to nearby Milan and Potenza rather than distant Rome'. Putnam is very enthusiastic, as this institutional creation represents an 'unparalleled opportunity' to have 'a comparative study of the dynamics and ecology of institutional development'. However, Putnam probably did not expect back in 1970 that he would draw from the Italian cases conclusions that could have a significant importance for the development of third world countries. I will start the review of his book by examining the design of Putnam's research. I will then follow his arguments and his findings, before finally critically assess his work with the help of other scholars.
[...] To make his point he comparatively studies the institutional performance of the regions based on twelve indicators that he classifies within three domains policy processes; policy pronouncements; and policy implementation. He chooses to integrate policy processes in the measurement of institutional performance as it 'depends on how well an institution manages its essential internal affairs'. Thus his indicators are the stability, the promptness to achieve a budget, and the statistical and information services of the region. Putnam uses the pronouncements of the regions as a general domain too, as they should be 'prompt to identify social needs and propose innovative solutions'. [...]
[...] Putnam explains that he will bring evidences from data for these two hypotheses, which are common agreed on by most of the scholars. However, he also adds that 'the practical performance of institutions is shaped by the social context with which they operate', which has not been addressed enough before according to Putnam. If the aim of the research is quite challenging, it is however supported by a very strong methodological background. From the very beginning he sets his dependent variable - institutional performance before looking for independent variables that could explain it. [...]
[...] After examining the consequences of civic sense in the 19th century on the economic situation of 1970, Putnam keeps the same dates and compares economic levels in the same area. From statistical data, he found out that, if civic levels of a century ago explain economic results today, economic levels hundred years ago do not necessary correspond to the current economic situation. This makes Putnam say that 'economic does not predict civics, but civics does predict economics, better indeed than economics itself'. [...]
[...] Bibliography Boix, Carles and Posner, Daniel, S., Making Social Capital Work, Harvard University Paper 96-4, June 1996, on http://www.wcfia.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/96-04.pdf Fienberg, Howard, A Review of Making Democracy Work, on http://www.hfienberg.com/irtheory/putnam.html Fisher, Maverick, Putnam: Making Democracy Work Review, on http://www.la.utexas.edu/chenry/civil/archives95/csspapers/0006.html Laitin, David D., 'The Civic Culture at in American Political Science Review, Vol.89, March 1995 LaPalombara, Joseph, 'Review: Making Democracy Work', in Political Science Quarterly, Vol.108, Autumn 1993 Maraffi, Marco, 'Review: Making Democracy Work', in The American Journal of Sociology, Vol.99, March 1994 Morlino, Leonardo, 'Italy's Civic Divide', in Journal of Democracy, Vol.6, Putnam, Robert D., Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy, (Princeton NJ, Princeton University Press 1993) Robert D. [...]
[...] Once the theoretical bases of civic community are explained, Putnam explains the way he measured it. He used the combination of four factors to test those theories. First he assesses the density of association in each region. Indeed, 'one key indicator of civic sociability must be the vibrancy of associational life'. He then looks at the newspaper readership, as in Italy 'newspapers remain the medium with the broadest coverage of community affairs' it then shows the interest of the citizens in public affairs. [...]
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