Italy: From Bismarckian Pensions to Multipillarization under Adverse Conditions
In Italy, the move from a dominant public pension pillar based on a pay-as-you-go-financed Bismarckian social insurance towards a multipillar system is an instructive example of a ‘top-down’ process pursued by governments in order to compensate for the far-reaching pension reforms in the 1990s. Change began during difficult socio-economic and financial conditions when policymakers opted to exploit the pre-existing severance-pay scheme as an ‘institutional gate’ in order to boost private supplementary pensions. However, this strategy ruled out compulsory affiliation to the new funded schemes, thereby limiting their potential coverage. The establishment of supplementary pensions has recently given rise to a ‘new politics’ putting pressure on policymakers, employers, and trade unions for regulatory harmonization between occupational funds and personal pension schemes.
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