In a paper prepared as part of the 1992 draft Formez-Istat "The regional distribution of state expenditures: determinants, impact, equity and efficiency," the author had used the data, made available only for 1985 and 1986, in order to understand the determinants and the logic of the distribution of public expenditure between the regions of Italy. At that time it was investigated the ability to interpret real data from the literature on social choice: the data were used to tested alternative theoretical econometric models. The assumptions underlying these models was the existence of central authority can determine at will the regional distribution of all items of public expenditure and, if the aggregate amount thereof (the latter figure can also be set exogenously). The two main models tested, taken with different variations, were the welfarist one, in which the central authority chooses the distribution of public expenditure in order to maximize some social welfare function, and a model in which the coalition government's sole objective is to maximize votes. In both cases we assumed that the central government is concerned with the welfare of the repre-sentative individual for each region, while the problem of infraregional equity is sub-delegated to local authorities. The analysis conducted at the time provided clear guidance on the interpretative ability of the models compared to the Italian 1985 and 1986: the welfarist model, especially in a version that accepts the presence of scale effects and / or crowding was a better performer. After several years, Istat has provided the time series data on the interregional distribution of public expenditure since 1996; it was therefore natural to verify whether and how the profound changes that occurred in the Italian world of politics have also led to marked changes in the territorial composition of public expenditure. The answer seems clear: the change occurred is not of negligible size and gradually moves in the direction of reducing the equalizing goal.public expenditure, regions, redistribution of welfare
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