How would a technocratic government be different?

Demonstrators sit on the street as they take part in a protest against the Bank of Italy in the center of Rome on Oct. 13, 2011 after President of Italy Giorgio Napolitano met with Bank of Italy Governor and incoming ECB'S President Mario Draghi for the meeting 'Italy and the World Economy, 1861-2011.'

Steve Chiotakis: Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
may have just managed to hold on to power today after winning a key parliamentary vote. But there are growing calls for the Italian leader to step aside to make more room for a "technocratic" government to carry out economic reforms.

Christopher Werth now has more.


Christopher Werth: In one sense a "technocratic" government is a faceless group of experts willing to do the dirty work that democratically elected politicians can't.

But Simon Tilford of the Centre for European Reform says those technocrats will still need popular support.

Simon Tilford: The eurozone to a large extent was a technocratic project. So there's no guarantee that putting technocrats in charge of trying to save will prove any more fruitful than leaving it to the politicians.

But Luigi Zingales of the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business says Italy relied on a technocratic government in the 1990's -- to good results.

Luigi Zingales: They succeeded in shrinking the deficit that at the time was very large. And they introduced the first reform of pensions that was a major reform in entitlements.

This time around, Italy needs to tackle its enormous pile of public debt -- a job Zingales says may again be best left to technical experts.

In London, I'm Christopher Werth for Marketplace.

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