Progetti di ricerca

ReFORM - Crisi pandemica, riforma della PA e politicizzazione del settore pubblico: inversione di rotta o rafforzamento delle agende di riforma dalla PA? Evidenza da Grecia e Italia

ReFORM - Pandemic crisis, PA reform and public sector politicization: reversing or strengthening PA reform agendas? Evidence from Greece and Italy.

Ambito disciplinare Macroarea 3

Area scientifica Area 16 - Scienze politiche e sociali

Tipologia finanziamento B.I.R.D. - Budget Integrato per la Ricerca dei Dipartimenti

Tipo di progetto Nazionale

Stato progetto Aperto

Responsabilità scientifica Coordinatore

Data avvio: 11 November 2021

Data termine: 10 November 2023

Durata: 24 mesi

Importo: € 31.000

Principal investigator:

Laura Polverari


A considerable body of research has proliferated over the past year on the short-term responses to the Covid-19 pandemic. This study, instead, aims to assess the degree to which the pandemic, and the EU policy responses to it (particularly the Recovery and Resilience Facility, RRF, and National Recovery and Resilience Plans, NRRPs), might accelerate structural reform processes of domestic Public Administrations(PAs) and alter hitherto dominant PA reform paradigms. Will the PA reforms implemented under the NRRPs achieve the intended goals of lasting PA strengthening, as foreseen by the Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs)? How do the reforms address the trade-off between the short-term needs of NRRP implementation and long-term structural PA restructuring? Does the design of the reforms show a shift in paradigm and goals that are coherent with the CSRs, or do they risk exacerbating existing weaknesses, namely bureaucratic politicization and within-country territorial disparities? Through a mixed-method design, relying on comparative case study and survey experiment methods, the research addresses these questions with a focus on two countries that are characterised by similar PA traditions and weaknesses: Greece and Italy.


The study seeks to answer the following questions:
1. To what extent have the NRRPs helped to enforce the CSRs related to the quality and effectiveness of Public Administrations (PAs)? What specific reforms are introduced to this aim?
2. What is the trajectory of change anticipated? Are the reforms designed in continuity with previous reform attempts (efficiency-driven and managerial) or do they switch paradigm, anticipating a different post-Covid public sector (mission-driven, networked, inclusive)?
3. Do the reforms focus on short-term NRRP delivery or long-term PA strengthening?
4. Are the reforms institutionalizing, in their design, any of the emergency responses enacted during the pandemic? (e.g. increased reliance on commissions/experts, task forces, agencies, smart working etc.)
5. Do the anticipated reforms risk exacerbating current weaknesses, like PA politicization and within-country disparities in administrative quality?

Piano delle attività:

There are eight work packages to the project.
- WP0 – Ongoung project coordination and management.
- WP1 – Literature review: review of literature on PA reforms across the EU and anglophone countries to identify commonalities and differences in approaches, to support the elaboration of a new taxonomy of PA reform.
- WP2 - Development of the analytical and methodological frameworks: Design of the analytical framework, identifying dependent and independent variables and translating these into workable operational definitions, and fine-tuning of research methods.
- WP3 – Tools for case study research: Drafting of a guidance note, template and checklist for case study research.
- WP4 - Case study research: desk research, fieldwork and single-country analysis.
- WP5 – Survey experiment of senior public servants in Greek and Italian national ministries and agencies: a survey experiment to test the conclusions gauged through case study research with a wider range of actors than those interviewed under WP4.
- WP6 – Comparative research and conclusions: comparative analysis from the empirical data collected under Work Packages 4 and 5.
- WP7 – Scientific outputs and dissemination: presentation of findings at scientific conferences; organisation of a final conference to present the main findings to scholars, students and practitioners; invited guest lectures in Italian and international universities; published outputs; twitter account created for the project and managed by the PI.



A number of conference presentations and scientific outputs are planned as outcomes of the project.