Monday, April 6, 2009

Regulating the labour market: Italy and the UK

Here is a link to a paper I've co-authored with Elisabetta Gualmini of the University of Bologna:

The Political Economy of Labour Market Reforms in Italy and the UK: Convergence for Different Reasons?

It's a comparison of labour market and welfare reforms in Italy and the UK over the last couple of decades. Although the two countries have very different labour market traditions, they have become steadily more similar over recent years (they also share a strong upward trajectory of inequality and poverty). We assess these experiences in the light of two fashionable interpretations of labour market reform in the recent period: the 'convergence' thesis, focused on the impact of globalization and/or European integration, and the 'divergence' thesis which emphasizes the functional logic of different configurations of economic institutions. We find that neither is satisfactory, and that these reforms instead are best understood in terms of the domestic political agendas of elected politicians and the competitive electoral environments they face.

Comments welcome!