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Employment, Skills and Productivity in Italy


Italy is among the countries that suffered the most during the recent economic crisis in  terms of GDP loss and unemployment. However, Italian stagnation pre-dates the Great Recession. Since the mid-1990s, Italy’s economic growth has faltered, generating an increasing gap with respect to the rest of the advanced economies. In order to understand the causes of the ‘Italian malaise’, the project will focus on the role of employment, skills and productivity in the Italian economic growth. In particular, imbalances between offered and needed skills in the labor market – the ‘skill mismatch’ – may be responsible for significant losses in terms of productivity and growth.

Understanding the causes of such mismatch and how to improve the allocation of skills in the economy is a key challenge to increase the Italian GDP growth potential. 

The project is supported by the JPMorgan Chase global New Skills at Work programme. The programme focusses attention on what can be done to overcome unemployment, ranging from macro strategies to boost job creation, expand labour market participation and develop the skilled workforce for the future, through to specific innovations that improve the skills of the workforce and meet local employers’ needs.


We will address these issues working on the three pillars of our research program:

1. Understanding unemployment and skill mismatch in Italy
We will analyze skill problems by looking at the existence of labor shortages, skill gaps and qualifications mismatch in the Italian labor market. We will consider imbalances between the skills offered by jobseekers and the skills needed by the firms, as well as the extent of over- and under-qualification of workers in their current jobs.

2. The demand for skills: the role of firms
We will analyze to which extent Italian firms are able to satisfy their skill needs and we will assess the importance of different constraints that might affect the quality of the skill mix within the firm. We will consider external constraints, such as labor market regulation (employment protection and contractual ‘dualism’ in particular) and globalization. We will also consider factors internal to the firm, such as the characteristics of Italian entrepreneurs and their managerial practices. 

3. The supply of skills: education, unemployment and workers mobility
To understand how to tailor the supply of skills to the needs of the Italian economy we will focus on different segments of the Italian population: students, young workers, older workers, unemployed people, low-skilled, and highly skilled workers. We will look at early career choices as well as — later on — at the choice of the field of study and at the quality of higher education as critical factors for a successful transition into the labor market. We will study the nature and causes of youth unemployment in Italy as well as the dynamics of long-term unemployment. We will discuss how to manage an aging labor force. 

Along these three lines of research, we will draw policy prescriptions on how to address the issue of youth and long-term unemployment and to improve the allocation of skills in the Italian economy as well as the quality of the institutional environment in which firms search for skills.

Team members
•    Jérôme Adda Bocconi University, IGIER
•    Massimo Anelli Bocconi University
•    Italo Colantone Bocconi University
•    Vincenzo Galasso Bocconi University, IGIER
•    Alfonso Gambardella Bocconi University
•    Paola Monti Fondazione Rodolfo Debenedetti - Project manager
•    Nicola Pavoni Bocconi University, IGIER
•    Michele Pellizzari University of Geneva
•    Paolo Pinotti Bocconi University
•    Fabiano Schivardi Bocconi University, IGIER - Coordinator
•    Antonella Trigari Bocconi University, IGIER - Coordinator


Last modified 27/07/2017 - 11:52:10
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