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53rd Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Regional Integration: Europe, the Mediterranean and the World Economy", 27-31 August 2013, Palermo, Italy
This work demonstrates, through panel data analysis covering a time frame of seventeen years (1995-2011) that, in Italian regions (NUTS 2), administrative continuity is an enhancer of regional governments' efficiency when it is coupled by the bridging social capital. This research aims to analyse the role and the effects of administrative continuity (AC) on regional administrative efficiency (AE), given different levels and qualities of social capital (SC) (bonding and bridging) in Italian regions (NUTS 2). The work focuses on the regional level of government, considered the most suitable unit of analysis given the research purposes. The regional level of government has larger powers and resources than other local governments. Consequently, analyzing the drivers of regional governments' efficiency has several political implications, since a large number of regional policies are exclusively or mainly managed by regional governments (e.g. health care). The analysis considers two different concepts of SC: bonding SC represents the relationship within groups or communities, bridging SC indicates the relationship between different communities or groups of people (Storper, 2005). Capturing the relational aspects of SC allows to assess social interactions among people, which influence their culture dynamically. This overcomes the limitations caused by cultural path dependency (Trigilia, 2011). An indicator of 'civicness' is used as proxy of bridging SC. This variable can explain the degree of openness in the region, that is the degree of interrelation between groups of people. This represents a favourable condition for the coordination of the economic dynamics and for the construction of a high level civil society (Putnam et al., 1993; Storper, 2005) . Emphasizing the similarities in the literature on the linkages between SC and AE, it is possible to suggest that continuity is enabled as a positive factor for AE when a high SC is found, in particular for common good oriented policies. Instead, the continuity of leadership, where low SC is found, would be negative for common needs. In fact, in this case, there is less control on bad practices of politicians, which in turn are conducive to the consolidation of political patronage already in place for the absence of SC. In other words, continuity may trigger both a virtuous or vicious circle, depending on the levels and qualities of SC embedded in the region. An important differentiation is made between the effect of AC on long-term and short-term policies.
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