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Italy / The 'Immobile Dynamism' of the Political System
Vannucci and Cubeddu have already written two contributions for this journal on the relationship between the Italian institutional arrangement and liberalisation and simplification policies. Here they extend and update their analysis with the data for 2002, taking into account the first year of the Berlusconi government up to the phase prior to the passing of the financial law. The criterion they adopt to assess the performance of the institutions is the latter’s promptness in meeting new social problems without increasing the rate of coercion and without distributing its favorable and negative consequences randomly. The authors consider the evolution of economic freedom indices connected with the Italian institutional arrangement, the evolution of legislative constraints, new mechanisms of administrative regulation and the effects reforms have produced on the behavior and beliefs of citizens. The analysis shows that, in the course of the Nineties, the evolution of the regulation system in Italy has certainly produced a sort of virtuous circle, since every reform intervention was the premiss for new provisions for normative simplification and rearrangement, and the formation of favorable expectations in citizens and enterprises has further fuelled this positive spiral. Some indicators, however, reveal that institutional change is becoming increasingly ‘sticky’, and the risk is that the impulse from liberalisation policies will run out without producing enduring effects or appreciable consequences.