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Constitutional reforms, fiscal decentralization and regional fiscal flows in Italy

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  • Maria Flavia Ambrosanio

    (DISCE, Università Cattolica)

  • Massimo Bordignon

    (DISCE, Università Cattolica)

  • Floriana Cerniglia

    (Università Milano Bicocca)

Abstract

In the last 15 years, Italy has been involved in a complex, confuse and unfinished process of fiscal decentralization. In this context, data on fiscal flows are continuously produced and thrown in the political arena by several actors, political parties, interest groups and media alike, with little scientific underpinnings and often with limited adherence to reality. This paper discusses at length the issue of fiscal federalism in Italy and presents a careful attempt to measure regional redistribution, or fiscal flows across regions. It describes the decentralization process in Italy from the beginning of the ‘90’s to date and presents a few data on the main features of the Italian decentralization process, that only happened on the financing side, with little effects on the allocation of expenditure responsibility between levels of governments. The focus is however on the measurement of regional fiscal flows and on the problems concerning the regionalization of public expenditure and revenues. Our basic conclusions can be summarised as follows. Fiscal flows in Italy are huge and are mostly driven by the large difference in economic development between the different areas of the country. The public sector generally works in the direction of equalizing per capita (current) public expenditure across regions, at least for fundamental services. However, the distance in economic development, and therefore in tax revenues among regions, is so large that even this partial equalization is enough to generate consistent fiscal flows across the national territory. Clearly, fiscal federalism has some chances of success in Italy only if it works in the direction of reducing the distance between territorial areas and the Italian debate on fiscal federalism, rich in ideology and poor in facts, would certainly benefit by an improved quality of regional data and by official estimations, based on clear and transparent methodology, of regional fiscal flows.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria Flavia Ambrosanio & Massimo Bordignon & Floriana Cerniglia, 2008. "Constitutional reforms, fiscal decentralization and regional fiscal flows in Italy," DISCE - Quaderni dell'Istituto di Economia e Finanza ief0084, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
  • Handle: RePEc:ctc:serie3:ief0084
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    Cited by:

    1. Sandro Brusco & Luca Colombo & Umberto Galmarini, 2010. "Local Governments Tax Autonomy, Lobbying, and Welfare," Department of Economics Working Papers 10-01, Stony Brook University, Department of Economics.
    2. Fabio Padovano, 2014. "Distribution of transfers and soft budget spending behaviors: evidence from Italian regions," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 161(1), pages 11-29, October.
    3. Santiago Lago-Peñas & Albino Prada & Alberto Vaquero, 2015. "On the size and determinants of inter-regional redistribution in European countries over the period 1995–2009," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 845-864, November.
    4. Padovano, Fabio, 2012. "The drivers of interregional policy choices: Evidence from Italy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 324-340.
    5. Giuseppe Mastromatteo, 2011. "H.P. Minsky And Policies To Countervail Crises," DISCE - Quaderni dell'Istituto di Economia e Finanza ief0102, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
    6. Angel de la Fuente, 2014. "¿Maltrato fiscal?," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 943.14, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    7. Giuseppe Mastromatteo, 2011. "The Debate on the Crisis: Recent Reappraisals of the Concept of Functional Finance," DISCE - Quaderni dell'Istituto di Economia e Finanza ief0105, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
    8. Fabio Padovano, 2011. "Causes and Consequences of Bailing out Expectations of Subcentral Governments: Theory and Evidence from the Italian Regions," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes & University of Caen) 201128, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes, University of Caen and CNRS.
    9. Giannola, Adriano & Petraglia, Carmelo & Scalera, Domenico, 2016. "Net fiscal flows and interregional redistribution in Italy: A long-run perspective (1951–2010)," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 1-16.
    10. Giannola, A. & Petraglia, C. & Scalera, D., 2011. "Residui fiscali regionali e riforma federalista. Quanto residuerà delle politiche regionali e redistributive? [Fiscal residua and federalist reform in Italy. Will regional and redistributive polici," MPRA Paper 30895, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Ms. Izabela Karpowicz, 2012. "Narrowing Vertical Fiscal Imbalances in Four European Countries," IMF Working Papers 2012/091, International Monetary Fund.
    12. Francesco Prota & Maria Jennifer Grisorio, 2018. "Public expenditure in time of crisis: are Italian policymakers choosing the right mix?," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 35(2), pages 337-365, August.
    13. Angel de la Fuente, 2014. "Is Catalonia being fiscally mistreated?," Working Papers 766, Barcelona School of Economics.
    14. Petraglia, Carmelo & Pierucci, Eleonora & Scalera, Domenico, 2020. "Interregional redistribution and risk sharing through public budget. The case of Italy in times of crisis (2000–2016)," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 162-169.
    15. Nadia Fiorino & Emma Galli & Nicola Pontarollo, 2021. "Does Social Capital Affect Voter Turnout? Evidence from Italy," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 156(1), pages 289-309, July.
    16. Nadiia Matsiuk, 2022. "Thrive, survive, or perish: The impact of regional autonomy on the demographic dynamics of Italian Alpine territories," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(5), pages 1512-1558, November.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    fiscal federalism; net fiscal flows; regional redistribution;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
    • H73 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

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