Net fiscal flows and interregional redistribution in Italy: a long run perspective (1951-2010)
By providing a long run reconstruction of regional Net Fiscal Flows (NFFs) in Italy throughout the last six decades (1951-2010), this paper documents the substantial rise of fiscal transfers to Mezzogiorno (i.e. Southern Italy) from the rest of the country. Besides, three further arguments are presented. First, we find that the prominent upsurge of NFFs in 1980s and 1990s has exerted a scarce impact on the North-South gap, mainly because it has not been connected to a stronger commitment in supply-side regional and development policies, and the needed rise of capital expenditure in Mezzogiorno. Second, we ascribe most of the increase in NFFs to the generalized escalation in current primary expenditure related to the “decentralization without accountability” design of fiscal reforms implemented in the 1970s. Third, we evaluate the size of interregional redistribution in the light of regional income differences and the burden imposed to contributing regions. By making use of several indexes and analytical procedures intensively used in the literature, we reach the conclusion that interregional redistribution in Italy has been moderate, considering the severity of initial differences in economic and social conditions.
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