2002 OECD Economic Surveys: Italy 2002

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This 2002 edition of OECD's periodic review of Italy's economy examines recent economic developments, policies and prospects and includes special features on reducing debt and the tax burden, making public spending more effective and on reforms to raise growth potential.

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Structural Reforms to Raise Potential Growth

As measured by potential (full employment) GDP growth, Italy experienced the largest slowdown among the major European economies between the 1980s and 1990s (Figure 20). Much of this could represent the end of catch-up, as Italy reached GDP per capita levels similar to those of France, Germany and the UK by the end of the 1990s (Figure 21), having outperformed them in growth terms in earlier decades. Profound macroeconomic and structural reforms over the decade of the 1990s may have suppressed output growth, during a transition period, as well. Indeed, Chapter I described an acceleration of activity around the turn of the millenium. But it also noted that Italy’s export performance has been, on balance, disappointing. And there remains a deep regional divide: the Centre-North has a per capita output level equal to 122 per cent of the EU average, whereas that of the Mezzogiorno is only 68 per cent. Thus, the need to continue and deepen the process of structural reform would appear to be strongly indicated.

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