The Jobs (F)Act: Marginalisation Processes and Flexicurity in Italy

Saturday, 21 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Lara MAESTRIPIERI, IGOP/Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
Antonio FIRINU, University of Cagliari, Italy
Inequalities in the Italian labour market persistently occur along age cleavages. This is due to a 20 years process of deregulation “on-margins”, which exposed new entrants, in particular young workers, to worsened conditions in terms of rights and social protection compared to older generations. This approach is confirmed by the Jobs Act (L. 183/2014), the latest among labour market reforms, inspired by the European flexicurity framework.

Following an actor centered approach (Sharpf, 1997), central to the institutional change theory (Streeck and Thelen, 2005), the paper deals with the institutional disjunction between institutions enhancing flexibility and those enhancing security at meso level. The main consequence on the supply-side is what we call a drifting effect towards marginal work. Marginalisation implies the workers’ progressive loss of rights and entitlements as far as we walk away from the centre and it occurs when labour market integration is so frail and intermittent that puts in question the capacity of the social protection to defend workers from economic insecurity.

Our empirical investigation, based on the Italian labour force survey, will show to what extent marginal work concentrates among the young entrants in the labour market and to what extent the magnitude of this phenomenon changes across different territorial contexts. In particular, we hypothesize a complementary relationship between economic performances and institutional settings at NUTS3 level that impacts on the outcomes of flexicurity reforms and on the drifting effect magnitude to young cohorts on the labour market. The final scope of the analysis is to present a new understanding on intergenerational inequalities in Italian labour market, which are particularly insidious for the long-term economic security of young generations given the occupational nature of the Italian welfare state.