Statistical analysis on the duration of Italian governement cabinets from 1861 to 2001


  • Roberto Prisco Università degli Studi di Verona
  • Giovanna Caramia Università degli Studi di Verona



The duration of cabinets in a parliamentary democracy depends both on support from Parliament and, when necessary, on agreement among the different parties of the governing coalition. Since the foundation of the Reign of Italy (1861) until 2001, 119 cabinets have ruled, ten of which have not been considered in this analysis because terminated by non-political causes (death or serious illness of chief of government) or because they have not operated under control of Parliament. On the 109 durations, which form the basis for the analysis, a gamma random variable has been adapted through maximum likelihood estimation, which has proved to be a valid tool for the interpretation of the data. In fact, a Kolmogoroff-Smirnoff test has shown that a gamma with n=2 well adapts to the three different definitions of duration (political, juridical and until resignation). Cabinets which have not obtained Parliament approval, have been treated separately. Two detailed investigations have confirmed the n=2 estimation: in the first the cabinets of the Reign have been opposed to those of the Republic and in the second politicians with greater government experience have been opposed to the others. The value taken on by this parameter allows to decompose the duration into the sum of two negative exponential variables with the same parameter ? and to dare the interpretation that Italian governments default on the second occasion of problems they encounter.


How to Cite

Prisco, R., & Caramia, G. (2004). Statistical analysis on the duration of Italian governement cabinets from 1861 to 2001. Statistica, 64(4), 779–798.