Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Making Federalism Work in Italy

Contents:

Author Info

  • Alexandra Bibbee
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    Fiscal federalism can be an important complement to structural reforms and budget consolidation. Empowering sub national governments, while at the same time making them accountable to local citizens in the uses of tax money, could improve the allocation of public resources and promote catch up of the lagging regions. Italy has launched itself in the federalist direction by decentralising spending, regulatory and tax powers in the late 1990s and reinforcing growing lower level responsibilities with a constitutional reform in 2001. The constitution has yet to be fully implemented, though the government has signaled its intention to do so. A stronger focus should now be put on the financing side, i.e. getting a better match between spending responsibilities and taxing powers so as to boost local autonomy and responsibility in line with the goals of federalist reforms. As the lower levels are fully in charge of health and long term care, they will face intense pressures due to population ageing, which is especially rapid in Italy, so that more tax bases should be devolved to them, especially as pension reform has reduced such pressures on central government. Redistributive mechanisms should be redesigned to improve fiscal effort, and Italy must decide in that context to what extent it can really afford to guarantee uniform national service levels – and conversely, how much regional differentiation of services it will tolerate in pursuit of higher efficiency. Framework conditions need to be strengthened, notably accounting standards which need to be upgraded and unified. Fiscal discipline under the Internal Stability Pact should be strengthened via better ex ante co-ordination and tougher sanctions ex post. Faire fonctionner correctement le fédéralisme en Italie Le fédéralisme budgétaire peut être un précieux complément des réformes structurelles et des mesures d'assainissement budgétaire. Donner plus de pouvoirs aux administrations infranationales tout en faisant en sorte qu'elles rendent des comptes à leurs administrés pour l'utilisation des recettes fiscales pourrait améliorer la répartition des ressources publiques et favoriser un rattrapage dans les régions en retard. L'Italie s'est lancée sur la voie du fédéralisme en décentralisant les dépenses, les pouvoirs réglementaires et les attributions fiscales à la fin des années 90 et en renforçant les responsabilités croissantes des niveaux inférieurs d?administration par la réforme constitutionnelle de 2001. Mais les nouvelles dispositions constitutionnelles ne sont pas encore pleinement appliquées. Le gouvernement a l'intention d'y remédier. Il faudrait maintenant mettre davantage l'accent sur le volet financier, c'est-à-dire faire mieux concorder les obligations de dépenses et les compétences fiscales, de manière à renforcer l'autonomie et la responsabilité des autorités locales conformément aux objectifs des réformes fédéralistes. Les niveaux infranationaux d'administration, qui ont totalement en charge les soins de santé et la dépendance des personnes âgées, devront faire face à de très fortes pressions du fait du vieillissement de la population, particulièrement rapide en Italie ; il faudrait donc leur décentraliser plus de pouvoirs fiscaux, sachant en particulier que la réforme des retraites a réduit les pressions qui s'exercent sur l'administration centrale. Il faudrait revoir les mécanismes de redistribution dans la perspective d'un plus grand effort fiscal et, dans ce contexte, l'Italie devra décider dans quelle mesure elle peut véritablement se permettre de garantir des niveaux nationaux uniformes de prestation des services publics – et, à l'inverse, quelle différenciation régionale des services elle tolérera en vue d'une plus grande efficience. Il faut renforcer les conditions cadres, en particulier les règles comptables, qui doivent être améliorées et normalisées. On pourrait obtenir plus de discipline budgétaire dans le cadre du pacte interne de stabilité avec une meilleure coordination ex ante et de plus lourdes sanctions ex post.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/017785106355
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 590.

    as in new window
    Length:
    Date of creation: 20 Dec 2007
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:590-en

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: 2 rue Andre Pascal, 75775 Paris Cedex 16
    Phone: 33-(0)-1-45 24 82 00
    Fax: 33-(0)-1-45 24 85 00
    Email:
    Web page: http://www.oecd.org
    More information through EDIRC

    Related research

    Keywords: Italy; health care; fiscal federalism; public spending; efficiency; decentralisation; regions; provinces; local authorities; régions; efficacité de la dépense publique; autorités locales; Italie; fédéralisme fiscal; décentralisation; provinces;

    Find related papers by JEL classification:

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    References

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    Citations

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:590-en. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.