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 Policy

Italy has made progress implementing the recommendations of the 2001 OECD Report on Regulatory Reform in Italy, to eliminate unnecessary regulatory constraints on competition about price, entry, and quality. The Bersani reforms in 2006 and 2007 removed many constraints, and in a way that showed how reform benefits consumers, shifting the terms of debate about reform priorities. These reforms have vindicated the Antitrust Authority’s programme of policy study and advocacy, since the Authority’s reports supplied the evidence to justify and explain them. Other recommendations have received less attention. Including competition policy in the legislative quality process remains an aspiration. The issue of competition in local public services remains open. Antitrust enforcement has improved in some of the recommended directions, notably stronger sanctions and more flexibility to permit adopting a formal leniency programme. This chapter discusses timetables for merger review in the light of European practice.


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