OECD Territorial Reviews: Italy 2001

OECD's territorial review of Italian regions. It finds that Italy’s economic development has been characterised by marked regional disparities, most notably between the Centre-North and the South. Today, Italy demonstrates one of the widest geographical dualisms among OECD Member countries. In the Southern regions, the unemployment rate is still four times higher than in the Centre-North despite recent signs of dynamism. The infrastructure endowment of the South remains far below the national average and organised crime still constitutes a heavy deterrent both for investment and endogenous development.

The country has recently started relevant and promising transformations of its territorial governance aimed at creating those framework conditions that could favour local economic development in depressed areas. New instruments have been developed for the Mezzogiorno (Southern Italy) which involve all actors and all tiers of government, in the strategic phases of design, implementation and evaluation of territorial policies. The review describes these policy innovations and discusses the major challenges that the country must tackle in order to reach a more balanced territorial development and lay the foundations of a new convergence process.

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