The Berlusconi Pension Reform and the Emerging “Double Cleavage” in Distributive Politics

in Italian Politics
View More View Less
  • 1
  • 2
Restricted access

The Berlusconi pension reform of 2004 was characterized by identifiable

similarities with the recent past of pensions policy-making, but

also by important differences. A core element of continuity was the

presence of a strong vincolo esterno—external constraint—which pressured

the government to engage in reform. But the pension reform

is also novel in two key respects. First, it was the only successful

unilateral welfare reform in two decades (Silvio Berlusconi’s previous

such attempt in 1994 having contributed to the collapse of his government).

In contrast to the social pacts of the 1990s, the unions were

not co-decision-makers in 2004. The major players, instead, were the

partners of the governing coalition.