Get access

Budgeting and Rebudgeting in Local Governments: Siamese Twins?


  • Eugenio Anessi-Pessina is full professor of public and health care management at Catholic University in Milan, Italy. In addition, he is senior fellow at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (Department of Health Care Systems) and editor of Azienda Pubblica (a leading Italian-language public management journal). His research interests include public sector budgeting and accounting, health care management, and management control in government and health care organizations. E-mail:

  • Mariafrancesca Sicilia is assistant professor of public budgeting at Bergamo University and SDA Bocconi assistant professor of Public Management and Policy. Her research interests focus on public sector budgeting, accounting, and performance measurement. E-mail:

  • Ileana Steccolini is associate professor of public budgeting and performance measurement at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy, and director of the Public Management and Policy Department at SDA Bocconi School of Management. Her research interests include public budgeting, accounting and accountability, and performance measurement in the public sector. E-mail:


The literature on budgeting in the public sector has traditionally focused on the annual budgetary process. Much less attention has been paid to rebudgeting—that is, what governments do to revise and update their budgets during the fiscal year. Because of its potentially large impact on appropriations, rebudgeting seemingly deserves more attention than it has been granted so far. This article uses data from a sample of Italian municipalities to test hypotheses on the main drivers of budget revisions. According to the results, rebudgeting is strongly affected by the degree of incrementalism in the initial budgeting process, as well as by several internal and external determinants, such as political variables, organizational features, financial conditions, and the local socioeconomic environment.