Changes in social patterns and in social policies have profoundly transformed the Italian family and society. New technological and economic conditions have challenged the old pattern of production, employment and labour standards. Italyâ€™s response has been a â€œlimping reformismâ€: the various components of the Italian social model have developed along different lines. While convergence on legislative features and on macroeconomic policy has been almost mandatory, owing to the external constraints represented by European directives and the common currency, in other fields, namely the labour and product markets, reforms have often been â€œat the marginâ€ or have not substantially altered the Italian model. Failure (or only partial implementation) of reforms in one area has shifted the cost to other areas. The end result has been the exacerbation of old segmentations and the creation of new ones and the convergence at different speeds on the â€œEuropean social modelâ€.