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Alle origini del debito: il contributo della spesa per le Poste alla formazione del debito pubblico dell’Italia

Arrigo, Ugo and Di Foggia, Giacomo (2014): Alle origini del debito: il contributo della spesa per le Poste alla formazione del debito pubblico dell’Italia. Published in:


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This paper provides an overview of the government debt associated to the postal services focusing on a case study. In fact, the performance and the government expenditure on postal services from the Belle Époque to the current situation is investigated. This is done with the aim of identifying in the various historical moments the burden on the public finances resulting from government expenditure on postal services. This paper also tries to measure the impact of the cumulated transfers on the stock of public debt. Nonetheless, this work is one-step in a broader research aimed at estimating what part of the public debt exceeding the Maastricht parameters is attributable to additional costs paid by the entrepreneurial State in different fields: post, railways, local transport and airways. Acknowledgement of the strategic link between quality and coverage can be very useful in the design of a regulatory policy. In almost half a century from the beginning of the 10s of the last century and the end of the 50s, the postal company registered positive values in the vast majority of accounting periods. Since the late '50s, however, also because of an out of control growth of the number of employees, not justified by the trend in production levels, budgets deficit emerged. In 1993, at the start of postal reform, the company accumulated debt with the Treasury and the Deposits and Loans Fund to cover the cost of deficit exceeds €42bn. The paper recognizes that enhanced measures (both in terms of details and in terms of time horizon) of net government debt deriving from the expenditure on postal services could be considered. However, adding more variables may lead to practical difficulties related to the lack of available data sources and valuation problems. Provided that financial sustainability should be one of the factors guiding policies, these findings have important implications. To be in line with the public’s preferences, measures or policies to reduce deficit should aim to improve conditions to guarantee the healthy functioning of the market.

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