Italy has recently progressed in the aggregate DESI rank of the EU Digital Agendas, but remains a laggard member state for e-government, because of its critical digital public services. Owing to the scarcity of micro and territorial data, this work examines the main stylised facts, and interprets them with a transdisciplinary theoretical framework. On the one hand, we find that the digital delay of the Italian Public Administration (PA) is rooted in a peculiar mix of institutional obstacles, such as the legalistic juridical culture, normative chaos, political instability and patronage: these factors dampen the clarification and simplification of processes and the back-office, required by e-government to be effective. On the other hand, we posit that hiring policies and those of austerity (block of the personnel turnover in the PA) have increasingly lowered the quantity and quality of the digital public services. These policies may have created an original case of technological adoption disconnected from the necessary investment in human capital and organization of the PA (inadequate e-government supply). Finally, this work, while calling for a further appraisal of this policy case, recalls the deficit of statistics and open Government data which harm the study of the Digital Agenda of Italy.
Keywords: E-government, human capital, Public Administration, Digital Agenda, Italy