Independent Agencies and the Separation of Powers: An Empirical Analysis of Commissioners’ Appointments and Mandates

By Giulio Napolitano, Gianluca Buttarelli, Giorgio Mocavini e Rosaria Morgante

The independent nature of administrative agencies in Italy is somewhat influenced by the legal procedures and criteria through which commissioners are appointed. This paper analyses how political agreements affect the composition of the board, with particular attention to the commissioner’s professional requirements and impartiality. The main assumption is that political parties in Parliament tend to influence the composition of the boards of agencies, favouring those candidates who are closest to their respective ideologies. This situation can have considerable impact on the principle of separation of powers in the Italian legal system. Therefore, the paper undertakes an empirical analysis on the status of the commissioners, taking into consideration the professional activities they perform before and after their mandate, the rules governing revocation or renewal of their powers, and all otherelements essential to analyse their mandate within the agencies.