This article analyses and compares the multi-dimensional co-ordination of employment and social policies at the Italian local level, especially focusing on the policy implementation stage. It departs from developing a theoretical framework to take into account the crucial variables that might potentially impact on the co-ordination of social cohesion policies. In particular, following a neo-institutionalist approach, great emphasis is placed on the legacy of the Weberian bureaucratic model, and its implied ‘specialisation ethos’. In addition, the effect of other contextual variables, such us social capital and the rate of unemployment, are considered.
The empirical analysis confirms the crucial impact of the specialisation ethos in preventing inter-policy co-ordination from occurring at the Italian local level, and the relevance of other contextual variables in causing policy integration within services, rather than between services.