Politiche pubbliche e contesti istituzionali. Una ricerca sui patti territoriali
The paper focuses on Territorial Pacts, a relatively new instrument of policy widely implemented in Italy. The paper has the general aim to evaluate the achievements of this instrument and to explain the causes of its performance. It is maintained that the main objective of the Territorial Pacts is to promote collective action, to strengthen horizontal links between local institutions and to realise public goods. The achievement of this objective must be therefore at the core of any evaluation of the Territorial Pacts. The paper, reporting the results of a field research, shows that the degree to which this objective has been reached varies a lot according to the different local experiences. There are cases where the co-operative philosophy of the Territorial Pacts has been accepted and absorbed, collective actions have been promoted and local public goods realised and cases where the only achievement has been to capture the State financial incentive. There is, however, a sufficient number of successful cases to maintain the validity of the inspiring idea behind the proposal of the Territorial Pacts: the possibility to change the behavioural models of local institutions through public policies. The paper, further, identifies some of the causes which explain the performance of the Territorial Pacts. National factors which have affected the birth or the performance of Territorial Pacts are the crisis of the big Italian political parties in the nineties, the process of devolution and the reform of the local electoral system; local factors are the presence of a leadership, the accumulated experience of collective action and the capacity of institutional building of local actors. Finally, the paper identifies the main weakness of the law in the absence of a valid mechanism for an ex-ante selection of the Territorial Pacts.