In Italy, the crisis drastically reduced employment and hours worked, particularly on individuals with flexible contracts – basically young workers – given the ‘duality’ of the Italian labour system. The aim of this paper is to assess the role of the Italian social protection system in reducing individual income losses during the 2008-2012 economic downturn. Besides, this study aims at providing a first evaluation of the labour market reform recently introduced in Italy. The paper joins in the vast debate on flexicurity, by building a microsimulation model based on the Italian Labour Force Survey (ISTAT) and on administrative data (INPS). Results attest that social security treatments significantly reduced income losses both for dismissed and suspended workers. Workers under 35 years old are less protected, compared to older ones, by the social safety system in force up to December 2012. The social security reform succeeded in balancing protections in an intergenerational perspective, even if large differences remain.
Keywords: Crisis, labor market, social safety nets, microsimulation