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Constitutional reforms, fiscal decentralization and regional fiscal flows in Italy

  • Maria Flavia Ambrosanio

    ()

    (DISCE, Università Cattolica)

  • Massimo Bordignon

    ()

    (DISCE, Università Cattolica)

  • Floriana Cerniglia

    ()

    (Università Milano Bicocca)

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.

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File URL: http://www.unicatt.it/Istituti/EconomiaFinanza/Quaderni/ief0084.pdf
File Function: First version, 2008
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Paper provided by Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE) in its series DISCE - Quaderni dell'Istituto di Economia e Finanza with number ief0084.

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Length: nn pages 29
Date of creation: Nov 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ctc:serie3:ief0084
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.unicatt.it/Istituti/EconomiaFinanza
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