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Globalization, Uncertainty and Women’s Careers

An International Comparison

Edited by Hans-Peter Blossfeld and Heather Hofmeister

Globalization, Uncertainty and Women’s Careers assesses the effects of globalization on the life courses of women in thirteen countries across Europe and America in the second half of the 20th century.
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Chapter 14: Mid-Career Women in Contemporary Italy: Economic and Institutional Changes

Maurizio Pisati and Antonio Schizzerotto


Maurizio Pisati and Antonio Schizzerotto INTRODUCTION Italy, in comparison to other advanced societies, has played a minor role in the process of globalization. Put another way, it could be said that Italy has suffered the consequences of the internationalization of economies and markets more than it has actively contributed to that process. A crucial reason is that the Italian production system is made up of a few large companies (less than 1 percent of all firms in Italy) and numerous medium and small firms (more than three-quarters of all firms in Italy have only two to five employees). Moreover, large companies and small firms both mainly operate in technologically mature sectors, and in most cases they are owned by individual families. The limited number of public companies gives rise to a rather narrow financial market and to restricted stock exchange activities, all the more so because foreign investors are kept out of the Italian economy by legal and bureaucratic constraints that make it difficult to establish a firm in Italy. Obviously, Italy has undergone some of the structural shifts that some authors (for example, Mills and Blossfeld 2005) have associated with globalization. The intention is simply to stress that these changes have been less pronounced in Italy than in other nations. As a consequence, it sometimes proves rather difficult to separate the economic and social transformations attributable to generic processes of modernization from those specifically due to globalization. Bearing this caveat in mind, it can be maintained that at least...

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