Facoltà di scienze economiche

Fiscalità pubblica centralizzata e federale : aspetti generali e il caso italiano attuale

Bernardi, Luigi

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    This paper summarises a lecture given at Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano, on May 18th, 2000. The paper is divided into three sections. The first one traces the different roots of unitary as well of federal countries, their present relative distribution across the western world, the outlook for future tendencies in this field. The second section is devoted to a critical analysis of main contributions of economic theory concerning the optimum level of fiscal decentralisation and the tools to be used to finance state and local governments. The last part of the paper reports on the development currently pursued by Italy, from a centralised country to a wider spatial setting of fiscal structure. A general idea underpinning this paper, following R. Musgrave, is that historical and political factors are relevant and exert a decisive influence in determining the degree of fiscal decentralisation, far more than what is done by economic theory prescriptions.