Towards Convergence in Europe
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Towards Convergence in Europe

Institutions, Labour and Industrial Relations

Edited by Daniel Vaughan-Whitehead

This book aims to answer a number of important questions. To what extent have European countries converged or diverged with EU-wide economic and social indicators over the past 20 years? What have been the drivers of convergence? Why do some countries lag behind, while others experience continuous upward convergence? Why are these trajectories not always linear? Particular attention is paid to the role of institutions, actors and industrial relations – focusing on the resources and strategies of governments, employers and trade unions – in nudging EU countries onto an upward convergence path.
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Chapter 7: Italy: How could industrial relations help a return to economic and social convergence?

Annamaria Simonazzi, Valerio Ciampa and Luca Villamaina


Ireland over the period from 1995 to 2012 saw a remarkable economic boom followed by deep recession, going together with dramatic fluctuations in employment levels, major changes in the composition of the labour force and in occupation and social class structures. Collective bargaining and social partnership were central throughout the boom but collapsed at the onset of recession; a national minimum wage introduced in 2001 was key to subsequent trends in earnings dispersion. Over the entire period from 1995 to 2012, middle-income groups fared well relative to the rest of the distribution. Income dynamics in boom and bust are however central to understanding trends, with some types of households doing much better in the boom, while the bust also affected some groups much more severely than others. The impact of public expenditure on public services is also a core element of middle-income living standards.

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