The policy response to macroeconomic and fiscal imbalances in Italy in the last fifteen years
This paper reviews the main macroeconomic trends and the debate on policy priorities in Italy since the advent of EMU. It argues that, in the decade up to the outbreak of the global crisis (1998-2007), in Italy the reform process came to a virtual standstill and fiscal policy was inconsistent with the commitments taken on at the European level. The paper suggests that the lack of resolute policy reactions to the institutional dysfunctions and structural weaknesses was due to the fragmentation of the political constituency, while a variety of favourable contingent factors masked the difficulties of the productive system. Had Italy been better positioned in terms of public finances and structural features in 2007, some of the adverse effects of the global and sovereign crises would have been avoided.
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