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Is Italy a Federal or even a Quasi-Federal State?

Albert Breton and Angela Fraschini ()

POLIS Working Papers from Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS

Abstract: Constitutional adjustments over recent decades, but especially the important constitutional reforms of 2001, have led to significant increases in the degree of decentralization of the Italian Republic, at least formally. These changes have induced a number of knowledgeable observers to conclude that if Italy was not a federal state, it was on its way to becoming one. We consider the same question by making use of a widely accepted model of the assignment of powers. We make use of the "reduced form" of an up-to-date version of the Breton-Scott organizational cost model – a reduced form which allows us to concentrate on coordination activities and costs. To understand coordination, we must acknowledge that powers are Edgeworth complements – modification of one power has repercussion throughout the constitutional system. In all decentralized states, coordination activities are vested in institutional bodies. In Italy, they are vested in a System of Conferences. We describe the legislative framework of that System and, following that, we document how it has operated in practice. We come to the conclusion that Italy does not appear be on its way to becoming a federal state.

Pages: 29 pages
Date: 2016-03
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