Keywords: Executive agencies - Agencification - Public administration - New Public Management - Policy diffusion
This article aims to outline the development of executive agencies in the Italian Civil Service. The Italian case is compared with some experiences which have been influential internationally. The comparative perspective leads to identify essentially three agency types: the separation model (the Swedish case), the osmosis model (the EU agencies) and the contract model (the Next Steps agencies in the UK). The emergence of agencies in the Italian central government is not a widespread phenomenon, although it had became somehow fashionable towards the end of the Nineties. Being diverse in structure and function, Italian agencies do not fit under a single rubric: agencies introduced before 1999 were inspired by the EU model, while those established since 1999 have openly emulated the UK agency model.