Author | Editor: Kuznar, E. (NSI, Inc.)
Three datasets on wealth and status distribution in Italy were analyzed: 2012 World Bank quintile and decile estimates of income, and International Labor Organization (ILO) income by occupation data for years 2014 and 2010.
Income data provided by the World Bank and occupational data provided by ILO tell similar narratives of a risk acceptant Italian population. The two datasets show that the Italian population is overall very risk acceptant and individuals or occupations attaining more wealth than others are on average more acceptant of risk.
Significance for Risk Taking and Stability
Italy’s risk acceptant population combined with weak economic performance may be fueling a wave of conservative sentiment that has allowed Russia and China to sign economic deals with Rome that worry other EU nations (Poggetti, 2018; Isachenkov, 2018). This coincides with a recent political surge in Italy’s Eurosceptic population, which has occurred due to the country’s weak economic performance and lack of job opportunities for future generations (Pew Research Center, 2017; Lovene, 2018).
Implications for US Interests
Italy’s risk acceptant population poses a risk to the US’ interest of keeping Russia and China out of EU and NATO politics. Italy and the US have maintained a friendly and cooperative relationship in combatting global terrorism, natural disasters including Ebola, and joint humanitarian aid including in Libya (US Department of State, 2019). However, if Russia and China can use a friendly relationship with Italy to insert their own interests into EU politics and decision making, it will greatly threaten a wide range of joint US- EU security interests (Poggetti, 2018; Isachenkov, 2018).
Implications for China’s Interests
China recently signed an economic deal that lays the groundwork for eventually bringing the BRI to Italy (Poggetti, 2018). This opens a vast new array of opportunities for China as Italy is the largest economy to date to sign a BRI deal and is an EU and NATO member state. The downward projecting Italian economy and its slim economic opportunities (especially for the younger population), combined with Italy’s risk acceptant population, grants China the potential for furthering its influence not just into Italy, but also into the EU (Grant, 2019).
Implications for Russia’s Interests
Italy’s risk acceptant population presents a large potential opportunity for Russia as it has ridden a wave of Euroscepticism and weak Italian economic performance to sign multiple economic deals (Isachenkov, 2018). Isachenkov points out that Russia sees the potential for continuing this trend, as former Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte acknowledged Russia as a member of Europe and said that an open dialogue with Russia on European issues is something that should be positive for the economic and political evolution of Europe.