The Italian Society for Public Economics (SIEP) is organizing its 14th Conference which will be held at the University of Pavia (Italy), 4 – 5 October 2002, and is asking for papers on the following topic:
The future of national welfare systems between European integration and regional decentralization: co-ordination, competition and mobility
Social protection policies, traditionally implemented by national governments, today are subject to contrasting pressures stemming from both growing regional decentralization and the search for a closer co-ordination at the European level.
The growth of social expenditure and the urgency for a more stringent control of public budgets have driven many countries to devolve, particularly in health care, fiscal responsibilities to sub-national layers of government. It is expected that, by putting expenditure decisions closer to financing ones and exploiting territorial differentiation of citizens’ preferences, more efficient outcomes would be achieved. In Italy, in particular, decentralization is still in progress. Additional analyses are required in order to investigate the allocative and distributive implication of this process.
Growing factor mobility and market integration give rise to competitive pressures towards a reduction in welfare state protection. This process is particularly relevant in the European context, given the extent of public social security systems and the strong integration in goods and factors markets.
Restructuring social protection in different layers of government gives rise to questions about institutional design, the choice of optimal financing and transfer instruments and the effects on citizens’ and firms’ behavior. Decentralisation of fiscal responsibilities to regional and local levels and differentiation in the supply of public services raise new issues about how to set fiscal rules, equity criteria and redistributive transfers. At European Union level, issues such as the co-ordination of national welfare systems, the scope for a European welfare state, the connections between market liberalization policy and social policy seem worthy of investigation. Moreover, the reshaping of institutional arrangements should be analyzed both at the nation-state level (co-ordination, equalizing systems among local governments) and at European level (multilateral co-operation, harmonization of national welfare policies, social policy directly implemented by EU institutions).
The Conference aims to analyze the economic and institutional aspects of these topics in theme-related sessions. Moreover, the Conference will have open sessions that may deal with any topic in the field of public economics. The submission of both theoretical and empirical papers is encouraged.
Submission of abstracts (1-2 pages) should include full name, affiliation, address, email, fax and phone number of the author in charge of correspondence. Submission should be sent by email no later then June 30, 2002 to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted papers must be received no later then 7 September 2002.
Further information about the Conference is available on the SIEP website: http://www.unipv.it/websiep/
Organizing Committee 14th Conference
Daniele FRANCO, Bank of Italy: e-mail: email@example.com
Alberto ZANARDI, University of Bologna and Bocconi University: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Giuseppe Ghessi, University of Pavia: e-mail: email@example.com