Stefania Profeti


Within the context of the austerity policies introduced in Italy over the last decade, a major role has been played by the top-down driven “rationalisation” of public spending and organisations, particularly in terms of the country’s local authorities and of the plethora of companies in which such authorities hold interests. Against this backdrop, and through the analysis of what happened in an "extreme" case such as the Leghorn Municipality, the essay aims to analyse how and how much the rationalisation ‘recipe’ promoted by the central Government is transformed when it is prepared at lower levels. The analysis brings to light not only the importance of local politics in the transfer of policy ideas, but also the role played by both the characteristics of the implementation structure developed around the municipal rationalization plan, as well as some sudden changes to the contextual conditions. In fact, the interweaving of these two dimensions – the endogenous and exogenous to the policy process – plays a key role in redirecting the declared strategies of local decision makers during the course of operations, and in redefining problems and solutions in the transition from the centre to the periphery.