Since the 19th century municipalities have started to offer local services like lighting, water-sewerage, waste collection and public transport. In the first decade of the 20th century this policy has been named municipal socialism: is it a significant world or just an emphasis on a rather trivial and natural phenomenon? Basically, who can manage local service better than the mayor?
What was the dominant governance of municipal public services in Europe and USA in those times: how were officials appointed or hired? Where there a form of control or regulation? Did the citizen's voice play a role?
Let's jump into the 70s and the 80s, in particular in Europe when a wave of liberalisation fever overwhelmed not only national networks like electricity, railways, telecommunication and gas but also the local services. This liberalisation fever has produced a lot of academic stuff and some policy reforms, in particular in Europe. Following also specific directives States have been obliged to put local services in a competitive context through tenders. Lawyers work on technical documents and specifications of contracts flourished to prepare municipalities for international bids for water, transport and waste services with the participation of local, national and international competitors.
At the end of the story, nevertheless, the final outcome of this effort has been very poor, in practical terms: incumbents are rarely removed in favour of new entrants. 40 years after the fever a doubt arises: maybe a lot of fudge, in the academy and policy, has been done around a very trivial issue: offering local services to the citizens in an acceptable way. Is it possible to outline the main features of future scenarios after Covid-19 disruption in the economics and organization of local public service?
FRANCO BECCHIS, Turin School of Regulation
Franco Becchis is an economist and author. Scientific Director of Foundation for the Environment and of the Turin School of Regulation, he coordinates research programmes on the interaction between economics, energy and environment and on local public services, as well as capacity building and support activities for local public entities. Teacher and lecturer in several schools and universities, he published Economia in pillole and Finanza Happy Hour (Sperling&Kupfer, 2008 and 2012), Bestiario di Finanza and L’incarico (Castelvecchi, 2016 and 2018) and The Political Economy of Local Regulation (Palgrave Macmillian, 2016).
GIORGIO BROSIO, University of Turin
Giorgio Brosio is Professor Emeritus, University of Torino, Italy. He has been professor at the Universities of Torino, Bari and Geneva. He has served as President of the Società Italiana di Economia Pubblica (Italian Public Economics Association) from 2009 to 2012 and as President of the European Public Choice Society (April 1992 - April l993) and member of the Board of the Italian Association of Regional Economics (AISRE).
His research interests focus on public choice, fiscal federalism, and public sector economics, including education and healthcare. He has worked extensively as a consultant for international institutions (IMF, World Bank, IADB, ADFB, the United Nations and the EU) on public sector reform and development, with emphasis on taxation, natural resources and decentralization issues. He has long record of publications, including books and articles on academic journals.
ANDREA GIUNTINI, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia
Andrea Giuntini holds a M.A. in Economic History, University of Florence, and a Ph.D. in Economic History from the Istituto Universitario Navale of Naples. Since 2000 he is Associate Professor of Economic History at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Department of Economics. His research deals with contemporary economic history. His main fields of research are: history of networks, energy, transport and communications, public infrastructure, urban history.
He is member of several scientific associations: AISU (Associazione italiana di storia urbana), ASSI (Associazione di Storia e Studi sull’Impresa), EBHA (European Business History Association), IRHA (International Railway History Association), SISE (Società Italiana Storici dell’Economia), SISSCO (Società Italiana di Storia Contemporanea), Tensions of Europe, T2M (Transport, traffic and mobility), and Amici di Memoria e ricerca.
Dr. Giuntini is on the editorial boards of the following journals: Ricerche Storiche, Memoria e Ricerca, The Journal of Transport History, Revue d'histoire des chemins de fer, Transportes, servicios y telecomunicaciones, Archivio per la storia postale, Storia economica and Antologia Vieusseux, .
MARIA SALVETTI, Florence School of Regulation & OECD
Maria Salvetti (F) is a water economist and a policy analyst with nearly 20 years of experience. She a Special Advisor at the Florence School of Regulation Water and Waste Area. Since February 2019, she works for the Water Governance Program of the OECD. She has taken part in a Water Policy Dialogue focusing on water and sanitation services regulation in Argentina and in Cape Town. Before joining the OECD, she was part of the “Economics of Public Private Partnerships” chair in La Sorbonne University. She coordinated a European working group on economic regulation of water sector, in partnership with the Florence school of regulation (part of the European University Institute). She also worked as an expert for the World Bank: Danube Water Program, Mid-term review of the Portugal Water Strategy, Analysis of the water supply and sanitation services in Central Asia, Financial sustainability of the water sector in Haiti, Reform of the water subsidies in Algeria. Former chief economist for the French national agency for water and aquatic environment (Onema), Maria Salvetti produced the first report on water services performance presented during the World Water Forum (2012). From 2008 to 2010, she worked for the largest water service in France (SEDIF) providing economic and financial advice in the preparation of the PPP contract. She has also worked as senior economist for Seine Normandy water Agency (France) and the Environment Agency (England & Wales). Maria performed numerous training programmes and academic courses: The basics of environmental economics: total economic value, externalities, environmental goods & services assessment; Economic appraisal in the Water framework Directive: cost-recovery, cost effectiveness and cost-benefit; Funding water services: tariffs, transfers, taxes; Economic performance and regulation embedded in the service management contract: preparing a PPP contract; Regulation of natural monopolies in the water sector; Designing & implementing social tariffs in the water sector: feedback from two French water services; A cost effective approach to water network renewal. She is a tutorial teacher at Sorbonne University, and a teacher at Paris and Lille Institute for Political Sciences for Master students.
ANDREA SBANDATI, CISPEL Toscana
Director General of CISPEL Toscana, a Regional Association of local public services enterprises in the sector of public utilities. Since 1990 a major part of his researches and works is related to public utilities, especially to waste management. Since 1997 to present he has been a member of Quadrifoglio Consortium where he holds the position of Vice-president. He is also a collaborator for the Regional Agency for Resources Recovery SpA in Florence and for CRS Proacqua in Rome.
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