OECD Reviews of Regulatory Reform: Italy 2009

Better Regulation to Strengthen Market Dynamics

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This review presents a general picture of the overall regulatory reform frameworks in Italy, examining quality regulation, competition policy and professional services. The review also offers a special focus on multi-level governance, where key issues include local public services, commercial distribution, local transport and energy.

The review finds that Italy has made significant progress using regulatory reform since the first OECD review in 2001. Administrative simplification and the increasing role of competition policy, combined with devolution of state powers to regions, have helped. But there are still key challenges for regulatory policy and its implementation, including enforcement, capacity in the civil service, impact analysis for evidence-based decision-making, and building a culture of consultation. The current global economic crisis is an opportunity for Italy to further clarify how the state intervenes in the economy, to improve multi-level co-ordination, and to expand competition in specific sectors.



Competition and Regulatory Reform in Commercial Distribution

This chapter analyses the liberalisation of commercial distribution in recent years, and presents the costs of barriers to entry. The regulatory framework is discussed from a multi-level perspective, including the 1998 reform and the rising role of regions, with implications in terms of land planning regulations and their interactions with planning regulations for the supply of retail services. The chapter offers a cross regional comparison of regional regulations after the 2001 constitutional reform, with a focus on store size thresholds, authorisation of medium-sized and large stores, opening hours and promotions and sales. The increasing role of regional regulations through the devolution process makes it difficult to assess the competition implications. The chapter also discusses the specific cases of pharmacies, news agents and petrol stations. Finally, the chapter analyses the scope for co-ordination mechanisms, including the State, the regions and the municipalities.


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