The Politics of Structural Reforms
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The Politics of Structural Reforms

Social and Industrial Policy Change in Italy and Japan

Edited by Hideko Magara and Stefano Sacchi

For countries undertaking economic or political reform the case of Italy and Japan is both highly instructive and sobering. The Politics of Structural Reforms reveals what Italy and Japan gained and lost through a series of social and industrial reforms in the 1990s and 2000s, and why the changes they made in their policies have had little impact in softening the recent economic crisis.
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Chapter 3: Corporate governance and firm ownership in Italy

Antonio M. Chiesi

Extract

Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, the Italian economy has recorded the lowest pace of growth within the European Union (EU) and some traditional industrial sectors have declined or even disappeared. This decline has been ascribed to the fact that the Italian economy is mainly based on traditional manufacturing sectors, which have been most heavily hit by the international competition of emerging economies. Moreover, the Italian case is affected by a low level of investment in research and development (R & D), with the consequence of insufficient increases in productivity and declining opportunities for innovation. After the eruption of the global crisis in 2008, the position of the Italian economy in the international division of labour has mainly relied on the traditional advantages of the design, luxury fashion and jewellery industry, while the automation industry and especially the production of machine tools keep playing an important role. All these sectors have been severely affected by the crisis, but the fact that the Italian economy – like the German one – is more industrial than financial, compared with other major Western economies, has so far prevented the worst consequences. However, this does not avert the long-term effects of the progressive marginalization of the Italian economy within the global system.

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