Keywords: Policy paradigm, Sustainable development, Policy frame, Italian case, Institutionalization
During the past decades sustainable development has become one of the most diffused policy paradigms among international actors, national and subnational governments. While the general consensus around this idea increased rapidly, substantive policies at all levels remained largely on paper. The gap between official commitments and practice can be explained by considering: a) the theoretical weaknesses of the paradigm; b) the political and institutional difficulties in the integration of socio-economic and environmental policies. The Italian case represents a clear example of how the institutionalization of such a policy paradigm risks to produce only symbolic or expressive outputs. The aim of this paper is to reconstruct the dynamics of the process of institutionalization of the paradigm in Italy by focusing on two regional experiences, those of Tuscany and Veneto.