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La varietà italiana di capitalismo. Istituzioni sociali e struttura produttiva negli anni Ottanta

MARINO REGINI
Stato e mercato
No. 43 (1) (APRILE 1995), pp. 3-26
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/24650262
Page Count: 24
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La varietà italiana di capitalismo. Istituzioni sociali e struttura produttiva negli anni Ottanta
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Abstract

Although the particular configuration of the Italian production system is the outcome of long and complex processes rooted in the country's history, the firms' choice between different alternatives of innovation may be seen as heavily influenced by the institutional environment. By drawing a distinction between three types of «postfordist» organizational models adopted by Italian firms, this article tries to understand why it was the innovative small firms organized according to a pattern of «flexible specialization» that prospered most in the 1980s - as opposed to large firms reorganizing along patterns of either «diversified quality production» or «flexible mass production». The suggested answer is that the environment in which Italian firms operate is strongly characterized by two interweaving features: a weak institutional regulation on the one hand, and what may called an effective but unstable voluntaristic regulation on the other. The consequences of this institutional environment are generally more unfavourable to large firms than to the innovative small ones, because it entails uncertainty and instability, while also allowing adaptability to change and giving malleability to the rules. To support this argument, the article examines the impact on firms of various public policies and of such institutions as interest associations, industrial relations, and the vocational training system. The conclusion is that the Italian case of the 1980s cannot be described, as is usually done, in terms of a simple mix of modes of economic regulation - or, with reference to a recent body of literature on the «varieties of capitalism», as an intermediate case between Rhine capitalism and Anglo-Saxon capitalism. It is instead a distinct model, one not reducible to presumed anomalies with respect to the better-known ideal types.

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