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A proposal for restoring Italian economic growth

One of Italy’s main problems is the poor performance of its public administration. This contributes to Italy’s low international credibility and to the scant appeal that Italy has for foreign as well as domestic investors. A major organizational reform of the civil service cannot be delayed any longer www.socialeurope.eu

One of Italy’s main problems is the poor performance of its public administration. This contributes to Italy’s low international credibility and to the scant appeal that Italy has for foreign as well as domestic investors. A major organizational reform of the civil service cannot be delayed any longer. But any such reform will by no means be adequate. Italy’s public sector is also severely undersized compared to all the major EU member countries (see data below). To obtain comparable data we had to go back several years, yet it is absolutely certain that in the years thereafter the relative standing of Italy did not improve, far from it. Also, the average age of public employees is now above 50, a consequence of the nearly complete absence of turnover since the early 2000s, itself a consequence of the squeeze on public expenditure. In any case, Italy’s abnormal position with respect to comparable countries is proved by its being among the OECD countries with the lowest share of tertiary education, and at the same time with the highest unemployment among university graduates; arguably, a consequence of the low public sector employment.

An inflow of new young and highly educated individuals cannot be put off without risking an additional unbearable decline in the quality of public services provided to citizens and firms. Our* proposal consists of filling between 800,000 and 1 million new positions in areas where the shortage is particularly acute (see section 3 below). The proposed intake, while still insufficient to raise the number of per capita Italian public employees to the level of France, UK or USA, would have a major impact on the youth employment front. The cost of this project may be estimated about €15-20 billion a year (corresponding to an average individual take-home pay of €800-1000 per month).

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