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date: 19 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Traditional labor policy, developed between the 1950s and the end of the 1970s, was geared toward the promotion of labor stability and the centrality of full-time open-ended contracts. Benefits were designed to protect existing employment, with no universal unemployment assistance. Since the 1980s, this system has undergone several changes, prompted by a gradual shift in policy beliefs, growing political consensus behind the need for reform, and by external constraints. Reforms have attempted to liberalize the labor market, introducing new types of employment contracts with an emphasis on flexibility, and relaxing hiring and firing procedures. Benefits have been reformed with the introduction of ad hoc discretionary measures to extend unemployment protection. However, no universal benefit system has been introduced, and jobseekers and many workers are still not covered by any schemes. Italian labor market policy remains discretionary and imbalanced, unable to address the issue of an increasingly two-tiered labor market.

Keywords: unemployment benefits, unions, labor politics, active labor market policy

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