Edited by Klaus Armingeon and Michelle Beyeler
Chapter 13: Italy's adaption under external pressures: whose influence?
13. Italy’s adaptation under external pressures: whose influence? Fabio Bertozzi and Paolo Graziano INSTITUTIONAL AND POLITICAL CONTEXT The Italian welfare state has often been depicted as a member of the so-called Southern European welfare model, since its model of social protection shares several characteristics with other Southern European states (Greece, Portugal and Spain) such as a particularistic pattern of benefit distribution and the low institutional capacity of public administration (Ferrera, 1996). Nevertheless, during the 1990s numerous reforms have been implemented and new trends in Italian social policy have begun to emerge: relevant pension reforms have been adopted (1992 and 1995), important health insurance reforms have been implemented (1992–93), and labour market (1997) and social assistance reforms (2000) have been introduced. But what have been the reasons for such reforms? Or, better said, what reasons predominated over others? In fact, both endogenous and exogenous explanatory factors have been identified (Ferrera and Gualmini 2000; Sbragia 2001). In this chapter we shall focus on the external challenges such as OECD guidelines and budget constraints required by the Maastricht Treaty. In fact, due to reforms of the welfare state and cutbacks in public expenditure (which had relevant repercussions on social protections in the Italian welfare state), Italy was able to meet the criteria set in Maastricht and to enter the European Monetary Union in 1998. These reforms had initially seemed very difficult to pass in the Italian political and institutional context. They occurred during a decade in which the economic performance of the...
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