The multi-level dynamics of state decentralization in Italy

Francesco Palermo (Corresponding Author), Alex Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


The institutional design of Italy today presents structural elements of a federal state, while its political system and culture remain centralized. However, the collapse of the party system and rise of the Northern League in the 1990s generated a series of decentralizing reforms, contradictory in nature and approved primarily for electoral advantage or coalitional maintenance. Formal inter-governmental relations between the centre and regions are weak, making party politics the crucial mechanism for relaying territorial demands between levels of government. Party organizations are themselves weak, unable to control their elected elites at sub-national levels. This asymmetrical and rather dysfunctional system of territorial organization requires extensive mediation by the Constitutional Court, whose case law in this area has grown enormously since the extensive Constitutional reform of 2001.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)510-530
Number of pages21
JournalComparative European Politics
Issue number4-5
Early online date26 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


  • decentralization
  • fiscal federalism
  • constitutional adjudication
  • institutional change
  • political parties


Dive into the research topics of 'The multi-level dynamics of state decentralization in Italy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this