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6 The civil service in Italy Elio Borgonovi and Edoardo Ongaro 6.1 INTRODUCTION Italy entered a phase of continuing political and policy change since the biennium 1991–2, when the party system started to collapse (Bull and Rhodes 1997; Radaelli and Franchino 2004; Ongaro 2009 and 2011). The dynamics of the political system determined over the 1990s and the 2000s a number of substantial reforms that deeply reshaped the civil service. This chapter focuses the transformations that occurred over the last two decades and gives the reader a picture of the civil service in Italy at the end of the 2000s. The features of the civil service before the 1990s are briefly presented since they represent the background against which the transformations that occurred over the subsequent two decades can be better understood, but they no more provide an adequate picture of the Italian civil service. The outline of this chapter is as follows: initially the broad historical characteristics of the civil service are outlined (section 6.2); then a description of the status of the Italian civil service at the end of the 2000s is provided, encompassing aspects like the size, the reward and the functions of the civil servants (section 6.3); the reforms of the civil service occurred over the 1990s and the 2000s are illustrated, and interpretations of the transformations that occurred are proposed (section 6.4); finally, some insights into the more profound implications of the modifications of the ‘deal’ between politicians and bureaucrats are proposed, and the...
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