You searched for: Content Type Policy Brief Remove constraint Content Type: Policy Brief Publishing Institution The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Remove constraint Publishing Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Political Geography Italy Remove constraint Political Geography: Italy Topic International Trade and Finance Remove constraint Topic: International Trade and Finance
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  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: A welcome economic recovery is under way in Italy. In part, this reflects the cyclical upswing in the rest of Europe, but there are also early signs of a more fundamental improvement, notably in terms of export and labour market performance. Even so, medium-term prospects remain challenging: Total factor productivity shows little signs of resurgence, high public indebtedness threatens fiscal sustainability and population ageing looms large. Without further reforms to restore economic dynamism, living standards will be dragged down relative to other countries. This Survey discusses policies undertaken by the government to address these challenges, notably to boost competition on product markets, achieve fiscal sustainability and make fiscal federalism work – all in support of growth and adjustment.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The traditional dynamism and flexibility of the Italian economy has faltered in recent years, in part because of the unfavourable developments in the international economy. Furthermore, structural reforms have not yet gone far enough to turn the tide. Despite supportive fiscal policies and monetary conditions, growth is sluggish, confidence is at a low ebb, inflation is above the euro-area average, and there are perceptions of a pervasive loss of competitiveness. As regards fiscal policy, room for manoeuvre has now been greatly reduced by tax cuts – desirable in themselves – and significant additional corrective measures will be required for some years to come, if medium-term targets are to be achieved and long-term fiscal sustainability is to be assured. Such corrective measures should be of a structural and permanent nature, with prime candidates being savings in public pensions and health care, and increased public sector efficiency. The pension system is very expensive, in large part because it still encourages early retirement, thus resulting in inefficient public spending and low employment rates. These perverse features need to be removed. Public health spending is not efficiently administered: recent agreements on standards and financing with regions are a step forward, and a more incisive control of costs could derive from the quarterly monitoring of spending that has already been implemented. In public administration, the retirement of large numbers of public employees creates opportunities for a more effective and less costly redeployment of human resources. Overall economic performance would be improved by policies that further strengthen competition in product markets, for example by not eroding the powers and independence of the sectoral regulators. Privatisations should be vigorously resumed and effective financial market monitoring of firms ensured. Speedier bankruptcy procedures should be introduced that give priority to efficient reallocation of resources. Together with less rigid employment protection legislation, this might encourage more small firms to expand to levels that would permit more investment in both human and R capital. Recent employment developments have been positive, and further improvements could be achieved by encouraging the social partners to allow wages of workers of all ages to more closely reflect their productivity and local conditions. Planned improvements in the social safety net and the functioning of employment services should also boost job creation by making employees willing to accept more flexible employment conditions. In the longer term, increasing the levels of output and living standards will also depend on raising the skills and qualifications of Italy's labour force. Proposed educational reforms could improve them both and thereby help to realise Italy's full economic potential.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Italy