Selective Neoliberalism: How Italy Went from Dualization to Liberalisation in Labour Market and Pension Reforms
New Political Economy
GB : Carfax
neoliberalism, Italy, Social policy, labour market
The paper investigates the Italian institutional adaptation to Neoliberalism and contributes to the literature in two ways. First, we analyse Italian and international political economy developments since the late 1960s, employing a historical institutionalist approach, sequencing the shift from the ‘roll back’ of Fordism to the ‘roll out’ of neoliberalism. In doing so, we connect the long-standing relevance and re-emergence of neoliberal ideas among technocratic elites and major political parties to the progressive building up of a neoliberal turn in 1992. Second, we develop the notion of selective neoliberalism, defined as a modality of institutional adaptation to neoliberalism which starts from the margins after the 1992 critical juncture, hitting first weak social groups through a dualization process, and then expanding to the rest of society in the form of liberalisation. We illustrate how successive governments circumvented the resistance of trade unions and completed the process of neoliberal adaptation over time, through an analysis of labour market and pension reform processes. The notion of selective neoliberalism might be applied to other countries and policy domains, in particular where an incremental reform process undermines step-by-step the resistance of different veto players to neoliberalization.