Informations and abstract
Keywords: Cassa per il Mezzogiorno; Special Projects; Development Policies; North-South Dualism.
Immediately after World War II, Italy was faced with a series of acute problems due to the persistence of an economic and social dualism between South and Central-North Italy. The creation of the Cassa for extraordinary works in the public interest of Southern Italy - the Cassa for short - in August 1950 (Law n. 646) was the tool for a special policy for the South and a new departure from the earlier fragmented and uncoordinated action with no specific aims or directions. At an early stage, the tasks assigned to the Cassa were to carry out public interventions on the basis of a planning activity of «organic complexes of extraordinary works». The end of this period marked not only the closing of the first twenty years of the extraordinary intervention on behalf of the South, but also the beginning, thanks to 1971 legislation, of a new phase with a new role assigned to the Cassa in the formulation and implementation of development policies founded on «special projects». From a methodological viewpoint, the system of «special projects» introduced a development policy based on «planning by projects». Special projects represented the first systematic attempt to introduce the economic evaluation of public expenditure within the Italian public administration. This paper aims at giving an analysis of this different allocative mechanism. It highlights the potential of special projects in terms of more rational financial and economic investment choice.