The Italian Administrative System: Why a Source of Competitive Disadvantage?

70 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2014

Date Written: October 14, 2011


The Italian administrative system is currently perceived as one of the main obstacles to a higher growth of the productive system. We argue that some causes of this ineffectiveness are deeply rooted and date back at the unification: a missing strong administrative tradition; an (excessive) political influence over the administration; the relevance of the juridical culture. We discuss in detail one specific "product" of the administration, its civil justice system, its inefficiencies over time and the potential reasons behind it. We then detail how some "reactions" to these inefficiencies have been in some cases the sources of further problems: an excessive number of (often too complicated) laws and administrative acts; the growth of administrative corruption; the creation of "public" agencies formally external to the administration. It is possibly in some of these elements that the reasons for the difficulties met by the reform processes initiated since the 1990s should be searched.

Keywords: public administration, civil justice, administrative law

JEL Classification: H11, K23, K42

Suggested Citation

Bianco, Magda and Napolitano, Giulio, The Italian Administrative System: Why a Source of Competitive Disadvantage? (October 14, 2011). Bank of Italy Economic History Working Paper No. 24, Available at SSRN: or

Magda Bianco (Contact Author)

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
Rome, 00184

Giulio Napolitano

University of Rome III ( email )

Via Ostiense, 159
Rome, RM 00145

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