Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy / Edition 1

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Overview

Why do some democratic governments succeed and others fail? In a book that has received attention from policymakers and civic activists in America and around the world, Robert Putnam and his collaborators offer empirical evidence for the importance of "civic community" in developing successful institutions. Their focus is on a unique experiment begun in 1970 when Italy created new governments for each of its regions. After spending two decades analyzing the efficacy of these governments in such fields as agriculture, housing, and health services, they reveal patterns of associationism, trust, and cooperation that facilitate good governance and economic prosperity.

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Editorial Reviews

The Nation
Seminal, epochal, path-breaking: All those overworked words apply to a book that, to make the point brazenly, is a Democracy in America for our times.
— David L. Kirp
The Economist
A great work of social science, worthy to rank alongside de Tocqueville, Pareto, and Weber.... If [Putnam's] claims about the essential conditions of successful democracy are correct (and they almost certainly are), then politicians and political scientists alike will have to think again about democracy's prospects in Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe.
The Times Literary Supplement
A remarkable study of 'civic traditions.'
— Steven Lukes
The New York Times Book Review
It is rare that one comes across a classic in political science, yet in Robert D. Putnam's Making Democracy Work we undoubtedly have one. . . . Mr. Putnam's seminal work addresses in a rigorously empirical way the central question of democratic theory: What makes democratic institutions stable and effective? . . . [His] findings strikingly corroborate the political theory of civic humanism, according to which strong and free government depends on a virtuous and public-spirited citizenry—on an undergirding civic community. . . . One crucial implication of Making Democracy Work is that feeble and corrupt government, operating against the background of a weak and uncivic society, tends not to foster the creation of wealth, but rather to renew poverty. Overmighty government may stifle economic initiative. But enfeebled government and unrepresentative government kills it, or diverts it into corruption and criminality. . . . This may not, perhaps, be a universal truth; but it is directly relevant to the prospects of democracy in the United States today.
The Nation - David L. Kirp
Seminal, epochal, path-breaking: All those overworked words apply to a book that, to make the point brazenly, is a Democracy in America for our times.
The Times Literary Supplement - Steven Lukes
A remarkable study of 'civic traditions.'
From the Publisher
Winner of the 1994 Charles H. Levine Memorial Book Prize

Winner of the 1994 Gregory Luebbert Award

Winner of the 1993 Louis Brownlow Book Award, National Academy of Public Administration

Honorable Mention for the 1993 Award for Best Professional/Scholarly Book in Government and Political Science, Association of American Publishers

"Seminal, epochal, path-breaking: All those overworked words apply to a book that, to make the point brazenly, is a Democracy in America for our times."—David L. Kirp, The Nation

"A great work of social science, worthy to rank alongside de Tocqueville, Pareto, and Weber.... If [Putnam's] claims about the essential conditions of successful democracy are correct (and they almost certainly are), then politicians and political scientists alike will have to think again about democracy's prospects in Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe."—
The Economist

"A remarkable study of 'civic traditions.'"—Steven Lukes, The Times Literary Supplement

"It is rare that one comes across a classic in political science, yet in Robert D. Putnam's Making Democracy Work we undoubtedly have one. . . . Mr. Putnam's seminal work addresses in a rigorously empirical way the central question of democratic theory: What makes democratic institutions stable and effective? . . . [His] findings strikingly corroborate the political theory of civic humanism, according to which strong and free government depends on a virtuous and public-spirited citizenry—on an undergirding civic community. . . . One crucial implication of Making Democracy Work is that feeble and corrupt government, operating against the background of a weak and uncivic society, tends not to foster the creation of wealth, but rather to renew poverty. Overmighty government may stifle economic initiative. But enfeebled government and unrepresentative government kills it, or diverts it into corruption and criminality. . . . This may not, perhaps, be a universal truth; but it is directly relevant to the prospects of democracy in the United States today."—
The New York Times Book Review

The Nation
Seminal, epochal, path-breaking: All those overworked words apply to a book that, to make the point brazenly, is a Democracy in America for our times.
— David L. Kirp
The New York Times Book Review
It is rare that one comes across a classic in political science, yet in Robert D. Putnam's Making Democracy Work we undoubtedly have one. . . . Mr. Putnam's seminal work addresses in a rigorously empirical way the central question of democratic theory: What makes democratic institutions stable and effective? . . . [His] findings strikingly corroborate the political theory of civic humanism, according to which strong and free government depends on a virtuous and public-spirited citizenry—on an undergirding civic community. . . . One crucial implication of Making Democracy Work is that feeble and corrupt government, operating against the background of a weak and uncivic society, tends not to foster the creation of wealth, but rather to renew poverty. Overmighty government may stifle economic initiative. But enfeebled government and unrepresentative government kills it, or diverts it into corruption and criminality. . . . This may not, perhaps, be a universal truth; but it is directly relevant to the prospects of democracy in the United States today.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Harvard professor Putnam offers an in-depth examination of Italian politics and government. (Sept.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691037387
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 5/27/1994
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 938,747
  • Product dimensions: 6.09 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Tables
Preface
Ch. 1 Introduction: Studying Institutional Performance 3
A Voyage of Inquiry 3
Charting the Voyage 7
Methods of Inquiry 12
Ch. 2 Changing the Rules: Two Decades of Institutional Development 17
Creating Regional Government 18
The Regional Political Elite: "A New Way of Doing Politics" 26
The Deepening of Regional Autonomy 38
Putting Down Roots: The Region and its Constituents 47
Ch. 3 Measuring Institutional Performance 63
Twelve Indicators of Institutional Performance 65
Coherence and Reliability of the Index of Institutional Performance 73
Institutional Performance and Constituency Evaluations 76
Ch. 4 Explaining Institutional Performance 83
Socioeconomic Modernity 83
The Civic Community: Some Theoretical Speculations 86
The Civic Community: Testing the Theory 91
Social and Political Life in the Civic Community 99
Other Explanations for Institutional Success? 116
Ch. 5 Tracing the Roots of the Civic Community 121
The Civic Legacies of Medieval Italy 121
Civic Traditions After Unification 137
Measuring the Durability of Civic Traditions 148
Economic Development and Civic Traditions 152
Ch. 6 Social Capital and Institutional Success 163
Dilemmas of Collective Action 163
Social Capital, Trust, and Rotating Credit Associations 167
Norms of Reciprocity and Networks of Civic Engagement 171
History and Institutional Performance: Two Social Equilibria 177
Lessons from the Italian Regional Experiment 181
Appendix A: Research Methods 187
Appendix B: Statistical Evidence on Attitude Change among Regional Councilors 193
Appendix C: Institutional Performance (1978-1985) 198
Appendix D: Regional Abbreviations Used in Scattergrams 200
Appendix E: Local Government Performance (1982-1986) and Regional Government Performance (1978-1985) 201
Appendix F: Traditions of Civic Involvement (1860-1920) 205
Notes 207
Index 249
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