Socially useful jobs: the last Keynesian labour market policy in Italy. Policy process evaluation

Barbu, Mirela (2013) Socially useful jobs: the last Keynesian labour market policy in Italy. Policy process evaluation. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

The industrial restructuring of the 1970s, the sluggish economic growth of the 1980s and the difficult macroeconomic scenario of the early 1990s which preceded the Italy’s joining of the EMU, gradually reduced the space for Keynesian economic policies in the country. In certain geographical areas, unemployment remained high over a long period of time and the Italian state had to confront this situation which was becoming socially and politically unsustainable. The solution found involved the long-term unemployed in a wide range of activities provided by public bodies, called socially and publicly useful jobs. At the end of the 1990s, under pressure from neoliberalism, many public bodies outsourced their public services, labour market deregulation was pursued, while supply-side labour polices gained ground.

This thesis examines the policy process during the paradigm shift, evaluates its impact on unemployment reduction, discusses the ways in which the policy’s outcomes were achieved, and highlights the role played by institutions during this long-term process. The approach chosen to evaluate the policy of socially and useful jobs distinguishes between three intrinsically linked stages of the policy process: policy-making, implementation and take-up. Recognising the central role of institutions in providing the context in which the policy process develops, the approach chosen for this analysis is historical-institutionalism. It is applied within the broader framework of the political economy which impacted on the transformation of the Italian welfare state and the rise of workfare practices.

The policy process evaluation led to some interesting findings. Firstly, many unemployed were re-inserted into the labour market due to their participation in socially and publicly useful jobs. Secondly, the activities they delivered allowed the communities to avoid disruption to important services and helped the state to save funds through the use of an inexpensive and productive workforce. Thirdly, the public administrations considered the outsourcing of services successful when they received high quality services from workers who were already known to them and were easily managed. Fourthly, the participation of the private companies in the last stage of the policy did not guarantee efficiency gains and, in several cases, the public administrations preferred to employ the socially and publicly useful workers directly.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labour > HD4801 Labour. Work. Working class > HD7795 Labour policy. Labour and the state
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2013 07:51
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2015 12:33
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/47067

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