Italy’s status performance continues to rank among the worst in the OECD (-1 rank relative to SGI 2009).
An inefficient and ineffective public administration system, the absence of genuine public deliberation, and weak policy output in several areas keep the country from performing far below the OECD average.
The Italian system has nonetheless proved to be resilient and able to overcome crisis situations but has considerable difficulty in addressing and resolving some of its long-running and most serious weaknesses.
Italy lags far behind its partners to the north in terms of formulating a modern vision of governance attuned to future social, political and economic needs.
The quality of democracy in Italy is lower than in most other OECD countries because the country’s democratic institutions are marred by persistent flaws.
Democratic standards for media freedom and pluralism are insufficiently protected and cultivated.
While the basic electoral process is fair, private media companies are heavily biased toward the center-right parties. Public broadcasters depend on the parliamentary majority.
Italy is suffering a severe crisis of political culture in which the public questions democratic values and the rule of law. Corruption, or at least clientelism, seem to be inherent to the government under review.
Falling four ranks to 30th place, Italy’s economic policy rating reflects considerable structural weakness.
The global financial crisis has dominated economic policy-making, preventing or delaying reforms that might improve the country’s low level of competitiveness and anemic growth. Prudent management of the debt-burdened public budget has become the priority.
Some improvements in labor relations, with fruitful cooperation between the government, employers’ associations and some trade unions indicate that further steps toward a more flexible labor market may be possible.
Falling several places relative to the SGI 2009, Italy’s social affairs ratings (rank 28) are near the OECD’s bottom.
Health care is almost completely free, and of medium to high quality, but the quality of public system care shows considerable regional variation.
Policies enabling women to reconcile work and family roles remain underdeveloped.
Policy-makers took steps in the direction of a more sustainable pension system, by linking gradual increases in the retirement age to indicators of the aging of the population.
The government has been successful in reducing the flow of illegal immigrants from across the Mediterranean, but has lagged in protecting the rights of immigrants already in Italy.
Italy’s membership in NATO and the EU are important factors in guaranteeing the country’s external security. The country has been a very active participant in peacekeeping missions conducted under international guidance.
The public often perceives the state of internal security more negatively than the reality suggests. Internal security forces have ably prevented terrorist attacks. In addition, some high-level mafia members have been arrested during the review period.
At rank 26, Italy’s relatively poor performance in terms of resource sustainability remains essentially unchanged.
Environmental policy outcomes in the country are mixed. Italy ranks among the OECD’s best performers with respect to CO2 emissions per unit of GDP and its renewable energy share. However, it fares less well on other issues such as water efficiency and waste management.
R&D policies have been underfunded, with a lack of strategic orientation. Basic research in particular has seen its support significantly reduced.
The education system is in principle open to everybody without discrimination. Students pay limited fees only at the university level. In practice, however, access is limited at the upper secondary and tertiary level.