Digit

1e/2024 Legal and empirical research related to Digital Autonomy

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Digitalization is a fundamentally important and extremely cross-cutting issue that has been affecting national and supranational legal systems for at least two decades now.
This project examines a relatively little-explored but highly substantive issue, namely that of the consequences that the digital transition might entail for the distribution of legislative and administrative powers between the state and subnational entities. Specifically, we aim to investigate what aspects of this phenomenon might result in a formal or substantive attraction of competencies to the central organs of the state (or the European Union itself), leaving subnational governments with the sole task of enforcing rules decided elsewhere.
The project will examine a series of national (Austria, Germany, Italy, Estonia) and regional (Autonomous Provinces of Trento and Bolzano, Land Tyrol) case studies, conducting an extensive analysis of the impact of digitalization on subnational entities in a comparative and European law relationship. 
The set of data collected regarding the different national and subnational experiences will make it possible to draw an overview of the impact of digitalization on public administration and to formulate a thesis about the fact that a centralization of legislative and administrative powers is taking place towards the state and at the expense of subnational entities.

Digitalization is a cross-cutting topic which plays a central role in the development of contemporary society. The theme of digital transition has many facets, which include the creation of digital infrastructure (e.g., broadband, cloud computing, data storage), the management of digital administration and digital services for citizens (e.g., automated administrative processes, database sharing between administrations), and which have a major impact in a great number of public and private contexts (e.g., health, education, labor, tourism, culture).

As digital transformation continues to expand, it is important to consider what the impact of digitalization may be on subnational entities, considering both their legislative powers and administrative functions.

Through a team of researchers and experts, the impact of digitalization on the division of competencies between state and subnational authorities will therefore be examined, with a look also at the relevance of the EU framework on the digital transition process.

The project will examine in the institute Work Package 1 a series of national (Austria, Germany, Italy, Estonia) and regional (Autonomous Provinces of Trento and Bolzano, Land Tyrol) case studies, conducting an extensive analysis of the impact of digitalization on subnational entities in a comparative law relationship. As a first result a report will be handed over to the Autonomous Province of Bolzano (ICT Department). Following on that, a scientific international conference will be organized in Spring 2024, and conference proceeding published in the end of 2024. 

On the effects of the digital transition on the organization of offices and administrative procedures, moreover, the institute of public management will provide a detailed analysis of the phenomenon, highlighting critical issues and prospects for improving the management of public affairs.

Outcome of this Work Package 2 will also be a publication.

The project will not only make an assessment of the legal basis, identify commonalities and differences, and positive and negative effects on autonomy, but also analyze what tools and methods exist to maintain, adapt, and further develop autonomy in light of the changing conditions and challenges of ongoing digitalization. 

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