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date: 28 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The Italian state apparatus has been characterized by a mix of surprising continuity and substantial change. Adaptation was prompted not so much by attempts at reform as by pressures stemming from the changing economic and institutional context. Driven by increasing economic differentiation, the size of the administration expanded particularly in the period after World War I and in the Fascist period. The expansion intensified after World War II, partly to enhance the system of patronage that characterized the postwar political system. Economic and social changes, combined with pressures stemming from the “Europeanization” of policymaking led to a series of changes from the 1970s. In particular, agencies outside the main administrative apparatus proliferated and power was devolved toward regional and local administrations. Since 1990 a series of reforms have led to further devolution, but attempts to improve the qualification of the workforce have arguably reinforced the politicization of the bureaucracy.

Keywords: administration, Fascist period, Europeanization, devolution

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