Comparative social policy

A.Y. 2020/2021
9
Max ECTS
60
Overall hours
SSD
SPS/04
Language
Italian
Learning objectives
L'approccio comparato consente di analizzare come, in diversi paesi e aree geografiche, il "benessere sociale" o "welfare" sia il prodotto di diverse sfere istituzionali, quali lo stato, il mercato, la famiglia e le associazioni intermedie. L'adozione di tale prospettiva in chiave storico-evolutiva permette, inoltre, di analizzare i processi di trasformazione dei sistemi di welfare, mettendo a fuoco il ruolo dei principali fattori di cambiamento, quali crescita economica, mutamenti produttivi, tendenze demografiche, domande sociali. In linea con gli obiettivi del Corso di studio, il corso mira in particolare a comprendere il ruolo specifico delle variabile propriamente politiche (tipo di regime, forma di governo, sistemi di partito, dinamiche di competizione politico-elettorale) nella formulazione dei contenuti delle politiche sociali analizzate - pensioni, sanità, politiche per la famiglia, politiche di contrasto alla povertà, politiche del lavoro.
Expected learning outcomes
Conoscenza e comprensione (knowledge and understanding):
Il corso mira, in primo luogo, a fornire agli studenti le conoscenze e gli strumenti analitici necessari a studiare le politiche sociali in prospettiva comparata.
Conoscenza e capacità di comprensione applicate (applying knowledge and understanding):
La messa a fuoco dei concetti e delle principali dimensioni analitiche, nonché l'adozione della prospettiva storico-comparata dovranno consentire agli studenti di sviluppare capacità di analisi puntuale di sistemi complessi come le politiche sociali, cogliendo le interazioni tra queste e le dinamiche economiche, demografiche, sociali e, soprattutto, politiche. Con riferimento a queste ultime, gli studenti acquisiranno la capacità di individuare i legami tra i sistemi di welfare, determinate configurazioni di attori istituzionali (governo, parlamento, istituzioni sovranazionali e internazionali), politici (partiti) e sociali (sindacati, associazioni datoriali, istituzioni finanziarie, ecc.) e i rapporti di potere e scambio tra gli stessi.
Autonomia di giudizio (making judgements):
Gli studenti svilupperanno la capacità di formulare giudizi autonomi applicando le categorie analitiche apprese e con sistematico riferimento alle informazioni empiriche ottenute durante il corso. In particolare, gli studenti saranno in grado di analizzare criticamente sia i nessi tra domande politiche (inputs)/processi decisionali (policy-making) e determinati assetti di welfare, sia le relazioni tra questi ultimi e i principali outcomes (o effetti) sociali, quali povertà, disuguaglianza, ecc..
Abilità comunicative (communication skills):
Il corso è orientato a stimolare la partecipazione attiva da parte degli studenti, sviluppando momenti di approfondimento conoscitivo e riflessione individuale e congiunta circa una serie di temi che verranno definiti al termine del primo modulo.
Capacità di apprendere (learning skills):
Il corso mira a fornire le informazioni e le capacità necessarie a: i) analizzare e comprendere autonomamente le scelte di politica pubblica e gli interventi promossi dagli attori sociali nel campo della protezione sociale; ii) analizzare le conseguenze di tali scelte sul piano economico, sociale e politico; iii) individuare le ragioni soggiacenti a una determinata decisione di politica sociale. Inoltre, gli studenti impareranno a reperire e utilizzare le principali fonti informative, sia qualitative che quantitative (banche dati), utili ad analizzare le dinamiche di policy e di politics relative ai sistemi di welfare.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Third trimester
Remote learning relies on 30 online sessions via Microsoft Teams

Same as in class-based lectures, remote sessions are conducted in a very interactive way in order to:
a) favour discussion, both student-professor and among students
b) stimulate critical thinking
c) fine tuning the course content in accordance with students' interests
d) strenghten students' oral communication skills.

READINGS
The syllabus will remain the same

EXAM RULES
The written tests (partial + final) for both attending and non attending students are converted into a single, ORAL exam at the end of the course.
Course syllabus
The course aims at providing the knowledge and the analytical tools for comparative social policy analysis. Therefore, the first part of the course (Unit 1) provides the key concepts and outlines the main analytical dimensions useful to understand the functioning of social protection systems. A comparative-historical overview of welfare regimes and welfare state configurations in European countries then follows.
Units 2 and 3 are devoted to analyze four different social policy sectors in comparative perspective: i) pension policy; ii) labor market policies; iii) anti-poverty policies; iv) reconciliation policies. This will contribute to a better understanding of the peculiarities of the Southern European model of welfare - and especially the Italian welfare regime.

Il course includes 3 Units of 20 hours each. Content of the Units:
Unit1. Social policies in comparative perspective
‐ Social policies, welfare, welfare state. What are they?
‐ Origins and development of social protection systems
‐ Welfare systems and the welfare state: typologies and classifications
‐ Challenges and welfare reforms
‐ Politics and the welfare statee
‐ Welfare state theories

Unit 2. Pension policy in comparative perspective
‐ What is pension policy?
‐ The original models, between Bismarck and Beveridge
‐ Development, transformation, hybridization of the original models in the Golden Age
‐ The pension crises
‐ Pension reforms 1990‐2007
‐ The Great Recession and another reform wave
- The Italian case: policies and politics

Unit 3.
Labour market and employment policies in comparative perspective
‐ What are labour market and employment policies?
‐ Unemployment insurance: origins and development
‐ Fron unemployment insurance to employment policies
‐ Flexibilization policies: from the 1980s to the global shock.
‐ The challenge of activation and flexicurity
‐ The soverign debt crisis and the Great Recession: flexibilization and recalibration?
- The Italian case: policies and politics

Social assistance policies in comparative perspective
‐ What are social assistance policies?
‐ Poverty: dimensions, measures, trends
‐ Anti-poverty policies and minimum income schemes
‐ Reconciliation policies: services, leaves, cash transfers
- The Italian case: policies and politics
Prerequisites for admission
Students must have passed the Political Science exam in order to take the exam of Comparative Social Policies
Teaching methods
The course includes 30 lecture-based sessions which are organized in an interactive way in order to favour students' participation and full involvement
Teaching Resources
‐ M. Ferrera (ed), Le politiche sociali, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2019 (new edition!)
Ch 1, Ch 2, Ch 3, Ch 5

- M. Jessoula M. Raitano, Pensioni e disuguaglianze: una sfida complessa, l'equità necessaria in "Politiche Sociali", n. 1.2020 (Access via Minerva - e‐journals @unimi.it)

- M. Jessoula, La previdenza complementare: limiti e sfide in una prospettiva sistemica e comparata, in M. Jessoula and M. Raitano (eds) Le pensioni in Italia, oggi e domani, Themed section of "La Rivista delle Politiche Sociali", n. 3.2019. (Download from Ariel)

‐ C. Ranci and E. Pavolini, Le politiche di welfare, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2015.
Ch. 2, 3, 7

- M. Natili, Gli schemi di reddito minimo nei paesi dell'Unione Europea, in F. R. PIzzuti (2019), Rapporto sullo Stato Sociale 2019. (Download from Ariel)

‐ The slides presented in the class are compulsory for both attending and non-attending students. They are uploaded on the Ariel platform.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Exam rules are the same for attending and non-attending students.
The exam can be take both as an oral exam or a sit-down written exam.
Both oral and sit-down written exams aim to:
i) assess that students have acquired the fundamental concepts and analytical dimensions for social policy analysis;
ii) assess whether students have learned the main features of welfare systems in comparative perspective;
iii) assess the students' ability in detecting the links between changes in social policies and the main economic, social, demographic and political transformations;
iv) assess students' ability to elaborate and argue about key themes in comparative social policy analysis.

- Sit-down written exam:
Students will take both a mid-term and a final exam. The exam will include multiple choice questions, as well as open questions which require both short (i.e. concept illustration) and long answers (generally 1 or 2 long answers). The latter are aimed to assess students': i) kowledge of the course themes and subjects; ii) analytical precision; iii) logical ability; iv) clarity of exposition.
These are also the criteria used in exam assessment and marking.
A minimum threshold to be admitted to the final exam may be required.

-Oral exam:
In all other exam sessions the exam can only be taken as an oral exam. This is generally structured on three broad questions aimed at assessing students': i) kowledge of the course themes and subjects; ii) analytical precision; iii) logical ability; iv) clarity of exposition.

Both attending and non-attending students may take the sit-down written exam and, in case of failure/not satisfactory marks) the oral exam.
Top marks is 33/30 (30 cum Laude).
As for the sit-down written exam: in case the final weighted average between the mid-term and the final exams is below 17.5 points, students will have to re-take the exam as an oral exam.
SPS/04 - POLITICAL SCIENCE - University credits: 9
Lessons: 60 hours
Educational website(s)
Professor(s)
Reception:
Office Hours: see the Italian page
Room 203, 2nd Floor (entrance Via Passione 13)