One of the four models of employment and social welfare adopted by countries OECD, as identified in a typography developed by Belgian economist André Sapir. Countries with 'Mediterranean model' policies include Italy, Greece, Portugal and Spain. The term Latin polarisation model has been used to describe countries fitting a Mediterranean model industrial relations system.

These countries typically have:

  • high degree of public spending, particularly on aged pensions.
  • early retirement age.
  • highly regulated labour markets.
  • high ratio of public debt to gross domestic product

    Mediterranean model countries are generally unsuccessful in both combatting poverty and unemployment. Traditionally social security was provided by social insurance funded by contributions from workers, with minimal benefits being offered to the unemployed or people with childrearing or caring responsibilities. By design the family consequently has a strong role in social welfare, headed by a male breadwinner with strong job security.

    The paternalistic Mediterranean model has been criticised not just for providing poor outcomes in terms of fixing unemployment and poverty, but also for not addressing long-term issues around sustainability, such as financing pensions and addressing falling fertility amongst women unable to survive without adequate government support.

    See also:
    Nordic model
    Anglo-Saxon model
    Rhineland model

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