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Georg Picot and Arianna Tassinari

Reform of the labor market has long been an important and controversial policy area in Italy, and it was one of Matteo Renzi's core concerns when he took up the leadership of the Democratic Party. This chapter recounts the main changes in Italian labor market policy since the 1990s before discussing the Jobs Act, which started as a highly publicized reform project concentrating on changes to public employment services and unemployment benefits, but which the left strongly challenged when dismissal protection was later weakened.

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Patrik Vesan

This chapter analyzes some of the major labor reforms implemented by the Renzi government in 2015 in relation to youth employment, with reference to the Jobs Act. The strategy pursued by the executive has been to concentrate on combating the segmentation of the labor market by liberalizing individual and collective dismissals and by introducing a new type of contract, which offers a generous incentive for new permanent hires. The main goal of this strategy is to decrease the divisions between insiders and outsiders in the hope that this measure will encourage employers to stabilize workers, especially the younger ones, and invest in the development of human capital. Such a strategy, however, rests on weak foundations, which might call into question its effectiveness and with it the stability of Renzi’s leadership.

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Lucio Baccaro and Marco Simoni

After months of intense debate, the referendum on Article 18 of the

Workers’ Statute was held on 15–16 June 2003. The aim of the referendum

was to extend to all workers, independent of the size of the

firm, so-called real protection, that is, the right to reinstatement in case

of unjustified dismissal.1 The result was clear once the polls were

closed and even before the votes were counted. Only 25.7 percent of

eligible voters took part, a significant amount less than the required 50

percent quorum. It meant that the 10 million votes (87.4 percent of voters)

in favor of extending Article 18 had no legislative impact.2 The fact

that the vote was not validated could lead to the conclusion that the

event was insignificant. However, it provides an opportunity to look at

the dynamics between trade unions and politics in recent years, especially

with respect to the debates over labor market flexibility and legislative

proposals of the center-right government. Moreover, the

referendum contributed both to the accentuation of divisions between

the major trade union confederations (CGIL, CISL, and UIL) during the

campaign and then to their attenuation following the vote. Finally, the

referendum, perhaps, brought to a conclusion a two-year struggle for

the representation of labor. It strengthened the traditional ruling group

of the Ulivo and Communist Refoundation while weakening that of

Sergio Cofferati, the spiritual leader of the wider left extending from

the Margherita to the No Global and girotondi movements.

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Anke Hassel

German unification acted as a catalyst for the substantial transformation of the German welfare and employment regime which has taken place over the last two decades. The changes can be described as a process of a partial liberalization of the labor market within the boundaries of a coordinated industrial relations system and a conservative welfare state. This article depicts the transformation as a trend towards a more liberal welfare and employment regime by focusing on the shifting boundaries between status and income maintenance and poor relief systems.

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Fen-ling Chen and Shih-Jiunn Shi

Since the late 1990s, the dynamics of welfare reform in Taiwan have gradually shifted to tackling new social risks emerging from economic globalization and labor market changes. This article analyzes these structural changes and the relevant institutional features of the labor market. The rise of atypical work has generated wide concern regarding its low wage income and insufficient social protection, triggering debates about which policy measures can effectively tackle the problem of the working poor. Drawing on the quantitative data from a social quality survey conducted by the Social Policy Research Center in National Taiwan University (NTUSPRC) in 2009, our analysis explores the social exclusion differences between regular and atypical workers for their objective and subjective experiences. The objective experiences include current financial situations, negative events, living conditions and political activities of the workers, whereas the subjective experiences refer to their feelings in family position, welfare assessment, discrimination, and autonomy. Our analysis helps explain the effects of work status on the degrees of social exclusion, both in the private and public spheres. The social exclusion experiences of working conditions shed light on social quality in Asia.

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“I Earn, Therefore I Exist”

Impoverished Bedouin Mothers Who Become Entrepreneurs

Nuzha Allassad Alhuzail

The changes among Bedouin in the Negev since the establishment of the State of Israel have had far-reaching implications for Bedouin women and their families. Bedouin women are marginalized, excluded from public life and the labor market. This exacerbates the economic inequality between Arabs and Jews, institutionalized, inter alia, in the 'Arab enclave', which lacks industrialization and is allocated fewer resources. This is a qualitative study among 20 Bedouin women raising large families and living in poverty who participated in SAWA, a microfinance program established by the Koret Foundation in Israel. It examines the process undergone by these women who succeeded in creating employment for themselves and for family members, thus raising their status within the family. Their contribution to the family income also improved their relationship with their husbands and other members of their family.

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Louis Chauvel

"Youth" was once defined as the 15 to 24 year old age group. Today in France one sees a "first youth" (dependent on family and school) and a "second youth" in their twenties sharply divided between a successful elite with top degrees (or family wealth) and a highly marginalized workingclass. Between these extremes, a middle group often experiences frustration and anomie when their university degrees fail to launch the careers they desired. A "third youth" of thirty-somethings has also emerged still dependent on their families and the state. The French corporatist welfare regime, moreover, makes women, immigrants, and the young structural outsiders who must compete harder than Caucasian middle-aged men for jobs. Setbacks early in life in the labor market have long-term consequences (scarring effects) both for individuals and for the birth cohort as a whole. The political consequences are difficult to forecast, but much of the recent political volatility in France can be traced to these generational dynamics and failure to integrate youth since the late 1970s.

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Stefano Sacchi

This chapter deals with two momentous structural reforms introduced by the Monti government in the social policy field: the pension reform approved in late 2011 and the labor market reform passed in July 2012. Alongside discussing the content of these two reforms and their plausible policy impact, the chapter places them in the context of the Italian sovereign debt crisis and shows how they were introduced due to pressures exerted by international and supra-national actors. The analysis focuses in particular on the policy-making process of the labor market reform, reconstructing the various stages it went through. All this took place in the context of a new policy style by the Monti government, which forced decisions in the shadow of hierarchy and even took unilateral action, pursuing its policy objectives under the legitimacy provided by the international actors and the sense of urgency stemming from the sovereign debt crisis.

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Alessia Donà

Despite a situation of economic crisis and political uncertainty, the year 2013 will be remembered for the highest female parliamentary representation ever reached in Italy, for the adoption of new legislative measures to combat violence against women, and for increased female participation in the labor market. This chapter provides an overview of these three main events. First, by conducting a process-tracing analysis, the chapter reconstructs the steps taken toward new legislative measures against gender-based violence. Second, the chapter explores the Italian labor market, where the harsh crisis put women back into the workforce. Lastly, the possible policy implications of a renewed, younger, and more gender-balanced Parliament are discussed. The main argument is that the events of 2013 may represent a turning point for Italian women's rights, but only if traditional gender roles are challenged.

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Margit Mayer

German nonprofits active in support work for unemployed and marginalized groups have undergone significant transformation in the context of recent social and labor market reforms. Drawing on the findings of a three-year research project on such local work-insertion organizations in Berlin, the article discusses some of the problems and potentials of nonprofits in the reshaping of welfare and employment policies. It shows how the service providers implementing these new policies and delivering the new benefits face a new competition from private, for-profit agencies as well as constraints set by the formal contracts which the new instruments entail. As they now have to deliver enhanced self-activity of their clients, are called upon to nurture and make use of "social capital" in their work fields, and are involved, as civil society "stakeholders," in new local partnerships between the municipality, the employment office and private sector actors, they lead us to question prevailing views in the voluntary sector scholarship.