The Effects of Municipal Amalgamation on Turnout. Evidence from the Italian Case

Prof. Silvia Bolgherini

This article aims at contributing to the literature on size and local democracy and in particular to the empirical studies of the relationship between size of subnational authorities and the turnout at elections to the local government in those authorities. Its main goal is to test what is the effect on turnout after a municipal merger. The Italian case - a highly under-investigated country case thus far - has been taken into account by examining the effects of municipal amalgamation on turnout in municipal elections and by relying on the Difference-in-Differences method. Some hypotheses have been tested, following the main assumptions in the literature, i.e. the general effect on turnout after a municipal merger, the temporary effect hypothesis and the U-shape hypothesis applied to size. Empirical evidence on the Italian case seems to disconfirm almost all hypotheses, thus providing the international debate a further case study where small or no relation between size and turnout has been found.