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Journal Article

Negotiating the Italian Pension Reform with the Unions: Lessons for Corporatist Theory

Lucio Baccaro
ILR Review
Vol. 55, No. 3 (Apr., 2002), pp. 413-431
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
DOI: 10.2307/2696049
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2696049
Page Count: 19
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Negotiating the Italian Pension Reform with the Unions: Lessons for Corporatist Theory
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Abstract

Using field research at both the national and the local levels, the author reconstructs the process that led to pension reform in Italy. This reconstruction becomes the basis for a critical re-examination of corporatist theory, which has recently been challenged by the emergence of social pacts in a host of "unlikely" countries, including Italy. The author argues that the theory's traditional emphasis on hierarchical and internally undemocratic interest groups is fundamentally at odds with the particular organizational mechanisms through which consensus was mobilized among both middle-level union structures and rank-and-file workers in Italy. In contrast with standard neo-corporatist theory, the Italian pension reform shows that organizational democracy, far from weakening the hands of reformist union leaders, may actually strengthen them.

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