Is the Italian Mezzogiorno in Line with Other Objective 1 Regions in Europe?

  • Robert Leonardi

Abstract

The Italian Mezzogiorno, consisting historically of eight regions,1 has contained Objective 1 regions since the beginning of the Community’s cohesion policy in 1989. Even before that year, the Italian South as a whole (rather than the regions as distinct institutions) was the recipient of an extensive national development policy that began in the immediate post-war period. In 1950 Italy inaugurated its ambitious drive to develop the South by creating with law 646 the Cassa per opere straordinarie di pubblico interesse nell’Italia meridionale (Casmez) or “Fund for extraordinary projects of public interest in southern Italy”. As was the case with the EU’s cohesion policy, the primary goal of the Italian national policy was to reduce the gap that differentiated socio-economic levels in terms of wealth, levels of consumption, and employment opportunities present in southern Italy from those that existed in the rest of the country. Reflecting the existing thinking on regional policies at the time that conceived regional development as an instrument to stimulate the growth of specific economic sectors — e.g., manufacturing industry, agricultural production, etc.-, the Casmez was given the responsibility of administrating a national development policy for key economic sectors of the South. The policy was not targeted toward specific regions. Instead, it was sectorially oriented-i.e., it focussed on specific economic sectors as a means of spurring the overall socio-economic development of the southern areas.

Keywords

Migration Economic Crisis Europe Transportation Income 

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Notes

  1. 3.
    See R. Paci and A. Saba, “The empirics of regional economic growth in Italy, 1951–1993”, Crenos, 97/1, 1997, pp. 1–49.Google Scholar
  2. 10.
    See Robert Leonardi and Raffaella Nanetti (eds), Regional Development in a Modern European Economy: The Case of Tuscany, London: Pinter Publishers, 1998Google Scholar
  3. and Robert D. Putnam with Robert Leonardi and Raffaella Nanetti, Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993.Google Scholar
  4. 12.
    See Diego Gambetta, The Sicilian Mafia: The Business of Private Protection, Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1993.Google Scholar
  5. 14.
    For a discussion of the economics of Mafia activity, see Stefano Zamagni (ed.), Mercati illegali e mafie: L’economia del crimine organizzato, Bologna: Il Mulino, 1993Google Scholar
  6. and Mario Centorrino and Guido Signorino (eds), Macroeconomia della mafia, Rome: La Nuova Italia Scientifica, 1997.Google Scholar
  7. 16.
    Today it is generally accepted that the allocation of public works was in the past not free but was extensively controlled in some Italian regions, such as Sicily and Campania, by a thick web of criminal organizations that split the proceeds from public contracts with local politicians. Everything was prearranged in terms of who got what and what the final cost of the contract would be. Thus, as the judicial investigations showed at time it was the bargaining among the parties that determined the cost of the contract and not the work to be carried out. Under these arrangements the laws of the market simply did not apply. See Giovanni Falcone, Men of Honour, London: The Fourth Estate Limited, 1992.Google Scholar
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    See Robert Leonardi, Coesione, convergenza ed integrazione nell’Unione Europea (Bologna: Il Mulino, 1998), p. 204, Table 6.5.Google Scholar
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    See Robert D. Putnam, Robert Leonardi and Raffaella Nanetti, La Planta e Le Radici: L’istituzionalizzazione delle regioni nel sistema politico italiano, Bologna: Il Mulino, 1985Google Scholar
  10. and Robert Leonardi, Robert D. Putnam and Raffaella Nanetti, Il Caso Basilicata: L’effetto regione dal 1970 al 1986, Bologna: Il Mulino, 1987.Google Scholar
  11. 21.
    The composition of the institutional performance indexes is described in Putnam, Leonardi and Nanetti (1985), op. cit., pp. 127–172Google Scholar
  12. and in Putnam, Leonardi and Nanetti (1993), op. cit. pp. 63–82.Google Scholar
  13. 22.
    Simona Piattoni has studied two of these southern regions — Abruzzo and Puglia-to compare their institutional outputs, and she concludes that a clientelistic form of politics characterized both regions. However, she distinguishes the clienteles in Abruzzo created by Remo Gaspari as a form of clientelism aimed at producing “common goods” — infrastructure, attracting industrial investment from outside of the region and country, financing social services versus the Puglian clientelism that was more oriented toward the procurement of individual goods (jobs, favours, and subsidies). She argues that the former promoted economic development while the latter supported individual levels of consumption. See Simona Piattoni, “Transforming Local Culture: Territorial Governance in the Italian South” in Jeanie Bukowski, Simona Piattoni and Marc Smyrl (eds), Between Europeanization and Local Societies, Lanham MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003, pp. 47–66.Google Scholar
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    Banfield defined amoral familism as “the inability of the villagers to act together for their common good or, indeed, for any end transcending the immediate, material interest of the nuclear family” (p. 10). He also went on to write that the factors, which impeded association for economic ends, also impeded it for political ends. It is interesting to note here that the village where Banfield did his work was in Basilicata. See Edward Banfield, The Moral Basis of a Backward Society, New York: Free Press, 1958. So, for our work what is important is not where the amoral familism behaviour took place but what kind of general outlook and behaviour it reflected. Political events between 1970 and 2003 suggest that the predominance of amoral familism in Basilicata may have begun to recede.Google Scholar
  15. See Filippo Sabetti, The Search for Good Government, Montreal: McGill University Press, 2000, pp. 191–211.Google Scholar

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© Robert Leonardi 2005

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  • Robert Leonardi

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