"The Italian Local Economic Development between the Maastricht Constrain and Austerity Policies (1992-2012)"Changes
Stefano Palermo

Abstract
Since the 1990s, local self-governments experienced significant shifts in their role and in the governance of their areas; such a path was by no means without limits and contradictions and was deeply affected by the changes occurring within both the Italian and the international context during those years. Therefore, the two decades spanned by the so-called “Italian transition” featured significant changes, compared with the model by means of which Italy had succeeded, during the second half of the 1900s, in joining the center of the economic system worldwide. Furthermore, the evidence gathered in recent years put into question the very effectiveness of using the term “transition” to define the changes happened during the last twenty years. Indeed, this time span seems less and less of a “bridge” between an ill-defined new system and the old one.It appears on the contrary, at least considering its historical and economic features, to be an historical phase in Italy, and a very articulate and differentiate one at that. In such a context, during the last twenty years, local self-governments in Italy reshaped the main forms of support to economic development, with mixed success when trying to enhance to competitiveness of Italy as a country, also because of the uncertainties connected with the process of institutional reform and, especially during the latter years, because of the growing financial commitments. This contribution is going to analyze the main features of the path walked by Municipalities and Provinces, especially highlighting the shift, happened during the second half of the 2000s, from policies containing expenditure to full-blown austerity from 2011 onwards, coinciding with the worst of the economic and sovereign-debt crisis in Italy.

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