Active Welfare State and Active Ageing. Inertia, Innovations and Paradoxes of the Italian Case

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Abstract

The population ageing is affecting all the European countries through challenges in the labour market dynamics, the welfare system sustainability, and the equality among generations. This challenges are particularly severe in Italy, where the ageing process runs faster than in the rest of Europe. To face these challenges the road map proposed by the European Union with the Lisbon Agenda in 2000 and confirmed by the new EU Strategy 2020 set different complementary goals consistent with the “active welfare state paradigm” prominent in European social policy debates since 1997 (and the launch of the European Employment Strategy). The key goals are: prolonging active life especially promoting the permanency of the older population in the labor market, postponing and making the retirement age more flexible, and finally investing in skills and human capital over the life course; in short, supporting active citizenship. While across Europe different models of active ageing have taken shape, mostly revealing their path dependency form the different welfare cultures, Italy has hardly started to move along the European road map. On the one hand, this delay is path dependent as well, on the other hand (starting from the pension reform) it unexpectedly opens up also to path departure solutions. The paper investigates both the inertial forces that have restrained the development of the Italian active ageing strategy and the innovative attempts that are ongoing, in the light of the feature of the Italian activation model. We give an overview of the Italian attempts to address the challenges posed by the demographic ageing process, trying to understand the reasons why Italy has not been a first mover and the consequences of this, in particular applying the concepts of path dependency and path departure in social policy. The paper would also give hints for comparative researches focusing on active ageing strategies and policy choices in country that, as Italy, has been late in dealing with the ageing issues, in particular from the labour market activation perspective.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)385-408
Numero di pagine24
RivistaTRANSFORMACJE
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2013

Keywords

  • Italy
  • active ageing
  • active welfare state models
  • path dependency

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