Giovanna Invernizzi (Columbia University) (webinar)
19 April 2021 @ 12:45 - 13:45
“Politics by Denunciation”
Judicial investigations of politicians are a fundamental component of politics, often leading to scandals. Yet, empirical evidence of the strategic determinants of judicial investigations is intrinsically hard to gather, a problem that has significantly limited the study of this important phenomenon. This paper studies the politics behind judicial investigations leveraging new data on prosecutors’ informants in 1125 episodes of misbehavior of Italian MPs involved in different crimes (1983-2019). Results provide evidence in favor of a political use of denunciations for corruption crimes: when a party weakens, the likelihood that political enemies denounce past misbehavior of members of the weakened party increases, suggesting that the political use of denunciation is elastic to changes in the electoral performance. The timing of past misbehavior is crucial: members of weakened parties are more likely to be accused of misbehavior that happened a long time before the accusation, which further supports the conjecture that accusations are politically motivated.
Joint with Andrea Ceron.