PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to discuss the municipal reaction to a recent rescaling policy in Italy that, since 2010, require to small municipalities to jointly manage their basic tasks (compulsory joint management – CJM) through intermunicipal forms of cooperation. The paper will investigate: how many small municipalities did effectively join their basic tasks; which forms of cooperation did they choose to perform these tasks; and which kind of reaction municipalities enacted toward the national provision.Design/methodology/approachQuantitative data rely on an original database collecting information on all Italian municipalities up to 2015. A qualitative research has also been conducted by submitting a semi-structured questionnaire and interviews to the civil servants in charge of the CJM in each of the 20 Italian regions and to other privileged interlocutors.FindingsItalian municipalities poorly complied with the CJM norm and when they did, they choose the easiest way to do it (using the simplest available intermunicipal cooperation form). Among the explanations for this reaction: the lack of consistency and clear political will of the national policy maker in respect to this norm and the lack of a mind set at the local level oriented to cooperation and networking.Originality/valueThis paper highlights the main patterns of conflict in functional rescaling of small-sized municipalities in Italy, thus providing both fresh new data on this phenomena and useful elements for shaping future policy making on this topic.
International Journal of Public Sector Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 14, 2018
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