, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 887-906

Incentivising inter-municipal collaboration: the Lombard experience

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The purpose of this exploratory research is to show how incentive policies have helped to shape the scenario of inter-municipal partnerships in the Italian region of Lombardy. Do these policies really work? Have they been the driver of greater collaboration among municipalities? Overall, the impact of the financial subsidies can be seen mainly when the intended beneficiaries are involved in the stages of negotiation and commitment that precede the setting-up of the collaborative arrangements. However, the capacity of the incentives to ensure that collaborative efforts are effectively maintained and developed over time is questionable. Importantly, the incentives do not seem to make a real difference in the collaborative choices aimed at joint policy-making and regulation. This qualitative study extends the evaluation research on implementation and contributes to the partnership management debate.