The Italian port case, as it constitutes a sound empirical field for achieving a deeper understanding of the impact of multi-scalar embeddedness that originates at both national and local level is the latest port study of PortEconomics members Francesco Parola and Giovanni Satta co-authored with Claudio Ferrari, Enrico Musso (University of Genoa) and Alessio Tei (Newcastle University). Τhe study presented at the annual Conference of the International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME 2016) held in Hamburg, Germany.
In particular, at a regional scale, various territorial forces offer powerful institutional and lobbying inputs that shape the trajectories of reform in individual ports. In this vein, Italy brings special legislative and governance challenges for policy makers and regulators, due to the strong negotiating power held by local port stakeholders such as terminal operators, concessionaires, ship agents, freight forwarders, and unions.
Multi-scalar embeddedness in the Italian port reform process is addressed, by combining two well-established theoretical constructs: i) institutional plasticity; ii) intended versus emergent strategy. For this purpose, the co-authors first introduce the concept of ‘institutional plasticity’ to emphasize how port actors strategically stretch existing institutional arrangements to their purpose, without breaking out, necessarily, the dominant development path. Then, is encapsulated the well-established notions of intended and emergent strategy within the institutional plasticity construct, which characterizes public organizations, such as the Italian Port Authorities. By this way, the multifaceted nature of institutional turns is disentangled.