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The article sheds light on two missing links in the existing literature on government’s policy preferences and policy choices, namely the roles played by party factions and trade unions as political actors able to affect government’s decision-making power. The content analysis of a wide typology of documents (i.e., investiture speeches, parliamentary debates, motions discussed during parties’ and trade unions’ congresses) allows to locate cabinets, parties, party factions and trade unions on a common pro-state/pro-market scale. Using these new data sources, we perform a multivariate time-series analysis to estimate the relative impact of those political actors on social expenditure in Italy throughout its modern history (1946–2015). The results support the idea that intra-party dynamics and trade unions’ preferences do matter. Indeed, government’s ability to retrench the welfare state vanishes when the Prime Minister’s party is highly polarized internally and when trade unions are more cohesive.
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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 429 kb)11127_2019_644_MOESM1_ESM.docx
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