North-south divide seen in Italian retirement

ITALY – There is a big difference in retirement patterns between northern and southern Italy, according to research conducted on behalf of the Italian government.

“There are notable differences between the North and South,” say researchers Bruno Contini and Elsa Fornero.

“In northern Italy, a ‘regular’ career exit characterises 50% of all retirement paths, while just over 10% of workers retire after a period of unemployment,” the researchers say. “In southern Italy, these shares are respectively 30% and 20%.”

The research was a collaborative effort between Italy’s Centre for Research and Welfare Policies, Laboratorio R. Revelli and R&P Ricerche e Progetti.

The study found that workers over 50 are characterized by lower job mobility than workers at the beginning of their careers and are less affected by the economy’s business cycle. For older workers, the probability of being affected by layoffs mainly depends on the company’s size.

“In large companies those over a certain age are often ‘anchored’ to a fixed position until retirement,” the study found. “In small or middle-sized firms working paths reveal considerable job mobility, even among older workers.”

The Centre for Employment Studies at the LABORatorio R. Revelli is a research institute of Coripe Piemonte, associated to the University of Torino, and funded by the Compagnia di San Paolo. Contini is Professor of Econometrics at the University of Turin.

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