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The recent sovereign-debt crisis has brought public administrations in Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain to forefront of debate as the European Union urged fiscal consolidation in all the four countries. Budgetary pressure has applied to countries which share contextual features that distinguish their public bureaucracies from the rest of European systems. Although the crisis put public finance under severe strain across Southern Europe, the four countries faced the crisis moving from different paths of administrative reform and cutback management. Yet, more comparative research is needed to shed light on the commonalities and differences which are found in the four countries.
The unit has three central goals. First, it seeks to empirically evaluate developments in southern European public administrations. Second, empirical analysis allows for various alternative theoretical frameworks to be used. Third, our research offers policy actors accounts of public management as a source of learning towards designing more effective reforms.

Our research pays attention to:

  • Decision-making on reforms (initiators of reforms, supporters and non-supporters of reform, the arguments for and against, decisions which are made)
  • Management of the implementation process (governance arrangements and guiding ideas activating or inhibiting mechanisms of policy change)
  • Outputs and outcomes of reforms
  • External pressures for reform from the EU and other international organizations

Research areas

  • Public employment as the privileged target of fiscal consolidation efforts
  • Better regulation as a key factor of competitiveness for recovery from slow economic growth
  • Transparency and Anticorruption as key efforts to restore legitimacy of government institutions
  • Patterns of Agencification under contradictory pressures for policy credibility and political control
  • Policy advice structures (e.g. ministerial cabinets) at the interface between political and administrative elites

This section is directed by Fabrizio Di Mascio. 

Managing Board

  • Fabrizio Di Masco
  • Alessandro Natalini

Scientific Board

  • Edoardo Ongaro