Employment, Poverty and Globalization
Edited by Hans-Jürgen Andreß and Henning Lohmann
Chapter 8: Two Countries in One: The Working Poor in Italy
8. Two countries in one: the working poor in Italy Ferruccio Biolcati-Rinaldi and Federico Podestà1 INTRODUCTION Within the framework of a comparative analysis of in-work poverty, the Italian case can be of interest not only as a classic example of a Southern European welfare regime, but also because of its high level of internal heterogeneity. Southern Italy – also called the Mezzogiorno – experiences incidences of poverty and in-work poverty that are much higher than those in the Northern and Central regions of Italy. Such a diﬀerence is an unavoidable point of departure which has already been highlighted by many scholars (Kazepov, 1998; Negri and Saraceno, 1996; Sgritta and Innocenzi, 1993) and can be a useful analytical tool for better grasping the Italian experience. This is the intention of this chapter, and one that is rhetorically expressed in the title. In other words, we want to study how it is possible – within one historical and political unit – that social and economic processes can diverge so dramatically. The chapter comprises six sections. Following the introduction, the second section presents the Italian welfare regime in its historical perspective, while the third treats the diﬀerent elements of this welfare regime (work, state, and family) analytically. On this basis, the fourth section develops some working hypotheses that are then compared with the empirical analysis and ﬁndings of the ﬁfth section. In the last section, we attempt to sum up our ﬁndings in a comprehensive picture of in-work poverty problems as they relate to...
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