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By Giuliano Bonoli;Toshimitsu Shinkawa

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Beveridgean (Bonoli, 2000; Myles and Quadagno, 1997); mature systems vs. latecomers (Myles and Pierson, 2001; Haverland, 2001); social insurance vs. latecomers (Hinrichs, 2001; Palier, 2003). 3. Although in some countries (France, Germany) social insurance schemes are formally run jointly by representatives of labour and employers, all important decisions concerning, for instance, eligibility and benefit levels of contributions are taken by governments of parliaments. 4. Italian and French political leaders have learned the difficult lesson of how strongly pension retrenchment was resisted in their countries.

The commission proposed some reform measures, which mainly aimed at restoring the financial viability of the system by harmonizing the regulations for the different regimes. 1 per cent of GDP in 1980, then exploding to over 100 per cent of GDP during the 1980s. However, the Italian political system seemed not to be ready to embark on a pension reform process. The Italian political system was still marked by high fragmentation and strong polarization of the party system, and weak governments usually relying on wide coalitions.

Due to the occupational design of the pension system, old age (and disability) policies emerged as the typical currency of such political exchanges. The (expansive) reforms were rarely preceded by serious forecasts on their impacts, and virtually no pension expenditure projection was carried out till the end of the 1970s. A clear example of such developments is represented by the introduction of very favourable ‘seniority pensions’, especially for public sector employees (1956), that were allowed to retire after only 20 years regardless of age (so-called ‘baby pensions’).

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