When political programmes are translated into public policies, a number of intended and unintended consequences may arise. In this sense, the study of local policies (with particular attention to cities and regions) sheds light and often anticipates national trends, while both the design and implementation of policies at the local level offers the opportunity to empirically assess how values and preferences interact with context to shape concrete policy programmes in terms of outputs, outcomes and, possibly, impact. At the same time, the study of the connections between politics and policies at the local level reveals how political actors and local bureaucracies react when they are challenged by emergencies or unprecedented social or institutional needs, by combining different policy instruments into complex policy mixes. Going local means also considering what public agencies do when they implement apparently self-executory policy measures at the decentralized level.

The study of policies at the local level in an internally diverse country such as Italy also offers the opportunity to see whether political alternation leads to policy change in terms of policy content and style. What happens at the local level when national or regional policies are implemented? What values and interests that dominate local elections are translated into policies? What is the role of political parties in local policy-making? How do interest groups organize and act at the local level? Do local political leaders and mayors develop distinctive policy styles? What intended and unintended consequences occur when policies are enacted locally, and how do policy actors shape their behaviours accordingly? These are examples of the research questions that this issue will address, possibly in comparative perspective.

This special issue of Italian Political Science (IPS) welcomes papers on the unravelling of the policy process at the local level in Italy, with particular attention to the interplay between politics and policies in the main cities and regions. We invite interested contributors to submit short papers (between 4,000 and 6,000 words) with particular (but not exclusive) attention to the following issues:

  • institutional and organizational reforms (rationalization, reorganization etc.) under austerity
  • policy change after government alternation at the municipal level
  • local public services (water, waste, transport)
  • local finance
  • contracting out and public-private partnerships
  • childcare and long-term care policies
  • poverty and social inclusion
  • immigration policies
  • ICT and smart cities
  • innovation policies
  • housing policies
  • security policies
  • great events
  • corruption

Expressions of interest can be sent to the Special Issue guest editor Maria Tullia Galanti (maria.galanti@unimi.it).

Papers can only be submitted electronically through the online submission system available on the journal website.

The deadline for the submission of papers is 31 March 2019. Selected papers will be submitted for peer review.