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The economic impact of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia autonomy: a synthetic control analysis of asymmetric Italian federalism
This article illustrates a case study on the economic impact of autonomy of one of the five Italian special-statute regions, namely Friuli-Venezia Giulia. This region had, and continues to have, legislative, administrative and financial prerogatives in areas of public intervention that are the duty of the central government in the 15 Italian ordinary regions. Accordingly, Friuli-Venezia Giulia could have year by year exploited such prerogatives to achieve an economic development higher than that attainable in the absence of its autonomy. In other words, Friuli-Venezia Giulia long-run economic growth would have been less than that actually experienced if the region had been an ordinary one. To test this hypothesis, the synthetic control method has been adopted. A suitable synthetic Friuli-Venezia Giulia has been constructed to contrast the evolution of regional real per capita GDP, observed over the post-autonomy-policy period, with the corresponding evolution of the same aggregate for the synthetic counterpart. This comparison reveals that if Friuli-Venezia Giulia were not an autonomous region, its per capita GDP would be significantly lower than that effectively observed.