The paper deals with the theme of the spending review from a methodological point of view and its intertwining with the budget decision. The thesis of the authors is that there is a strong link between economic growth and balance of public finance. And this connection is clouded by legal and accounting categories that can never be combined with a clear assessment of the objectives and financial results that the different sectorial policies aim to achieve. To argue this thesis is presented a reconstruction of the experience of spending review in Italy. The analysis reveals two distinct approaches: the dominant one, still widely prevalent, based on linear cuts, sometimes partially targeted, according to the moment and the persons called to identify them(which can be framed the period of Commissioners); the other, structural and fully integrated with the budget cycle, inaugurated by Ciampi in 1997 and taken over by Padoa Schioppa in 2006-2008. The objective of the SR, according to the authors, is not cut but innovate in depth to achieve public policies furthering development and productivity. The crucial question is the recombination of inputs (human and technical resources) in the territory and among the structures that articulate public policies. This requires a major reorganization of the administrative machinery.
Keywords: Structure, scope, and performance of government; budget; budget systems; state and local budget and expenditures; public administration; public sector accounting and audits
Jel Code: H11, H61, H72, H83