Planning Studies Centre

italian version

Progetto Quadro
The construction of an accounting frame of reference for national, socio-economic planning

This research was accomplished in 1971 under the coordination and direction of the Planning Studies Centre and in particular of its director (Prof. Franco Archibugi), in the framework of preparatory studies for the elaboration of what should have become the 2nd socio-economic Development Plan of the Country (1971-1975), but which has never been carried out and remained locked away in the drawers of the Ministry in charge (the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning) and in its research institution (ISPE).

This research represented an attempt to apply, also in Italy, the methodology of planning which elaborated at that time Ragnar Frisch (first Nobel Prize for Economy, together with Jan Tinbergen in 1969), inspirer of the Planning Policy both for the Norwegian Government and the United Nations, and for many other governments of countries on the way to development. Ragnar Frisch (already founder of the Econometric Society) at that time was a tireless supporter of a radical renewal of economic studies and economics, represented by what he called the ‘Programming Approach’, and by the use of an ‘Accounting Plan Frame' as an instrument of evaluation and political decision-making – through intense collaboration between planning analysts and the responsible politicians. He configured this Frame in a system of decisional models, at the national scale, which he called the ‘Oslo Channel Model’ based on a clear distinction between the moment of selection (selection problem) and that of its implementation (implementation problem); just to oppose big confusions which occurred also at his time in the very field of Planning supporters, from one moment to the other. [You can find documentation on the writings of Frisch for instance in the section of the Centre’s website concerning the PSISP (Planning Science Information System), particularly in the ‘Reprints’ section - Reprints of Planology of fundamental works on Planology on behalf of the Centre].

Apart from that, the research ‘Progetto Quadro’ represented also an attempt at giving accounting contents together with ideas and trends for a renewal of the Italian society, which was represented by the ‘Progetto 80 (see here)’. Therefore this was conceived as a continuation of the Progetto 80, at a time when the Planning Process had to display the instruments efficient for preference evaluation, the choices and decisions of economic policy to be taken on at a national level.

From an operational point of view the Progetto Quadro was organised by a series of Study Groups (39 groups in total), which defined the field of research by means of the common methodologies followed. In this way, those groups organised themselves in 6 main fields of research; and the research results were object of just as many groups of Reports (see list).

The organisation of the fields was coherent to the coordinated research process.

The first field includes the ‘General Reports’. Among them: the methodological and orientation of the whole research (on behalf of Prof. Franco Archibugi). This report – as mentioned above – can be considered ‘decanted’ by recently updated publications. “An Accounting Framework for programming etc.”. Outside of the field it includes also the Report on the programme structuring of ‘Progetto Quadro’ (see here a text, only in Italian), under which it has successively been tried to organise the ulterior sectorial researches, especially those that are at final demand of the population. Besides it has been tried to look at the socio-economic accounts of Italy and whether they are classified according to the new ‘Programme Structure’ of the Progetto Quadro.

The second field of research was aimed at evaluating which standards and indicators were to be adopted in the 16 sectors of final allocations of the resources, corresponding to the sectors of Programme Structuring of the Progetto Quadro, of which those ‘political’ ones have tried to draw objectives and bonds.

A third research field was regarding the demographic researches: growth forecast, evaluation of the desirable ‘activity rate’, fixation of the country’s migration objectives.

The fourth field was related to 7 sectors of final allocations of the resources (private consumption and public consumption).

And a fifth field of research regarded the input-output instrumentation for a transfer from final allocation sectors according to the plan’s objectives to the activity of the intermediate production sectors.

Finally a sixth field of research was dedicated to the quantification of financial flows and to the institutional mechanisms at their disposal.

You can have a look at the list of Reports (only in Italian) which were published by the Centre on behalf of the Ministry of Budget and Economic Programming and the ISPE.


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