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Law and Economics in Action: An Efficiency Analysis of Italian Penal Procedures after 1989


  • Nicola BOARI



This article aims to shed light about the real effects of a series of Special Procedures (procedimenti speciali) introduced in 1989 in the Italian Penal System. This reform was considered necessary because of the huge backlog of cases and the length of procedures which afflicted Italian criminal courts. In the first part of the paper we briefly describe the main characteristics of the new Code of Criminal Procedure. Furthermore, we analyze the main analogies and differences between the Anglo-Saxon and Italian plea bargaining procedures. In the second part of this study, we address the analysis to empirical evidence, decribing the temporal pattern of the caseload and the impact of plea bargaining procedures adopted by Italian pubic prosecutors. We find an upward trend of the backlog in almost all Italian Appeal Districts during the period examined. In particular, the new accusatorial proceedings introduced by the new Code show a very poor performance. Finally, both a parametric and a non-parametric efficiency analysis for a large sample of Italian courts of first instance (Preture) is provided, in order to test the effectiveness of the reform in getting rid of efficiency differentials among Italian courts in dealing with the backlog. The results show a wide dispersion in the frequency distribution of efficiency degrees.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicola BOARI, 1996. "Law and Economics in Action: An Efficiency Analysis of Italian Penal Procedures after 1989," Working Papers 76, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
  • Handle: RePEc:anc:wpaper:76

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    Cited by:

    1. Boari, Nicola, 1997. "On the efficiency of penal systems: Several lessons from the Italian experience," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 115-126, March.

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