73220 - Local Public Services Policies

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Politics Administration and Organization (cod. 9085)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students are expected to know the various options and policy instruments for the management and delivery of local public services; they will be able to analyse and understand the governance mechanisms typical of the various organisational arrangements, and in particular the role played by local governments in the selection of management models, in the establishment of public-private relations, and in the promotion of mechanisms of democratic control and accountability; they will also be able to critically reflect upon possible innovations for the improvement of such services.

Course contents

The course will offer an overview of the organizational solutions and policy instruments currently available for public administrations to manage and deliver local public services, as well as their effects on local governance and territorial representation. The Italian case will receive special attention, but its specificity will be confronted with other European experiences.

The first part of the course (20 hours) will be devoted to a general and conceptual introduction to public services, to the analysis of the national legal frameworks and policy legacies, as well as to an in-depth discussion of the organizational solutions available to local governments in Italy and abroad (direct management, private-law companies fully or partially owned by municipalities, institutional public-private partnership, concession to private operators etc.).

The second part (20 hours) will concentrate instead on the analysis of the specific organizational solutions used by local governments in two domains: water and sanitation services and waste management. Specific case studies will be examined and discussed in order to better understand the influence of contextual factors on local governments' choices, as well as to grasp the complexity of regulation and control mechanisms once applied in the local governance framework.

In the event of the continuing pandemic emergency, the course will be organized with a part of lectures taught online and another taught in presence. The number of students allowed in class will be determined on the basis of class capacity and according to the mandatory health and safety provisions.


  • M. Bianco e P. Sestito (a cura di), I servizi pubblici locali, (solo Introduzione e capitoli 1 e 2), Bologna, Il Mulino 2010.
  • G. Citroni, Governo S.p.a. Pubblico e privato nelle società partecipate degli enti locali, in Rivista Italiana di Scienza politica, n. 1/2009, pp. 87-112.
  • G. Citroni, A. Lippi e S. Profeti, Politica e politiche delle società partecipate. Le aziende dei comuni come unità di analisi della democrazia locale, in Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica, n. 1/2013, pp. 29-55.
  • F. Becchis, Le fatiche del regolatore: fattori di debolezza nella regolazione dei servizi pubblici locali, in Economia Pubblica, n. 1/2003, pp. 103-121.
  • G. Citroni, M. Cerruto e C. Dallara, Il «contracting out» come problema di organizzazione, amministrazione e policy, in Amministrare, n. 3/2017, pp. 373-403.
  • S. Profeti, A. Prontera e S. Ravazzi, Una mappa delle fonti per l'analisi della contrattualizzazione nei Comuni, in Amministrare, n. 3/2017, pp. 339-372.
  • T. Nabatchi, A. Sancino e M. Scilla (2017), Varieties of Participation in Public Services: The Who, When, and What of Coproduction, in Public Administration Review, vol. 77, n.5, pp. 766–776.
  • S. Profeti e V. Tarditi (2019), "Le pratiche collaborative per la co-produzione di beni e servizi: quale ruolo per gli Enti locali?", in Le Istituzioni del Federalismo, n. 4/2019.
  • C. Carrozza, La riforma italiana dei servizi idrici. Modi locali di governo fra continuità e rottura, in Rivista Italiana di Politiche Pubbliche n. 1/2008, pp. 5-36.
  • A. Massarutto, "Tra il legiferare e il fare", in Privati dell'acqua? Tra bene comune e mercato, Il Mulino 2011, pp. 47-86.
  • G. Citroni e A. Lippi, Pubblico e privato nella governance dei rifiuti in Italia, in Rivista Italiana di Politiche Pubbliche n. 1/2009, pp. 71-108.
  • L. Gherardi, "Perché parlare di economia circolare?", in Equilibri n. 1/2019, pp. 61-68.
  • M. Frey, "Politiche pubbliche per incentivare l’economia circolare", inEquilibri n.1/2019, pp. 110-115.
  • Commissione europea, "L’ECONOMIA CIRCOLARE.Collegare, generare e conservare il valore"
  • S. Profeti, "Verso una geografia variabile dei servizi pubblici locali di tipo ambientale. La gestione di acqua e rifiuti nelle regioni italiane", in S. Bolgherini e C. Dallara (a cura di), La retorica della razionalizzazione. Il settore pubblico italiano negli anni dell'austerity, Bologna, Misure – Materiali di Ricerca Istituto Carlo Cattaneo, 2016, pp. 131-155.
  • S. Bolgherini, C. Dallara e S. Profeti (2019), A shallow rationalisation? 'Merger mania' and side-effects in the reorganisation of public-service delivery, in Contemporary Italian Politics, n.2/2019, pp. 112-136.

All chapters and journals articles will be collected and made available on the IOL platform at the beginning of the course.

Teaching methods

Lessons of the teacher, as well as in-class seminars and teamworks on specific case studies. Class attendance is strongly recommended.

Assessment methods

The exam is written. Three open-ended questions will aim at testing student's knowledge of the key concepts and information explained during the course, and their capacity to critically discuss the various topics learned.
Students attending the course may substitute the written exam with an original research paper (max 10 pages) focused on a topic coherent with the course. A list of possible topics, as well as specific guidelines on how to build and write the paper, will be provided by the teacher.

Teaching tools

Powerpoint presentations (available before each class); videos; newspaper articles.

Office hours

See the website of Stefania Profeti


Clean water and sanitation Sustainable cities Climate Action

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.