The substantial increase in the delegation of legislative powers from the parliament to the executive has been singled out as one of the most prominent changes in the Italian political system of the last three decades. It has given traditionally weak executives the opportunity to adopt significant reforms while bypassing the notorious fetters of the ordinary legislative process. While the literature has to date focused on the motivations to delegate, there is still a research gap on what the executive does with the delegated authority. Based on a newly collected data set covering all delegation provisions adopted from 1987 to 2013, this article analyses why, in a remarkable number of cases, the cabinet did not use the delegations. Results show that the existence of an agreement on the policy in question (as captured by the precision of delegating criteria), as well as the complexity and timing of the delegation have a significant impact on the likelihood a delegation is used.
- Legislative delegation