Dynamics and inertia in the Italian labour market and policy evaluation (databases, measurement issues, substantive analyses)


Research Project supported by the Italian Ministry of Education and Scientific Research, 2001

[Home] [Versione italiana] [Printer-friendly version]

Projects | 1997 | 1999 | 2001 | 2003 | 2005 



This research project fits the broad framework of the increasing attention devoted in the literature on labour market to dynamic analyses of labour at the micro level. It builds on previous research supported by grants from MURST (a project financed in 1997, on "Labour supply and unemployment: issues of measurement and analysis", and an ongoing project on "Employment and unemployment in Italy: measurement issues and behavioural analyses"), with U. Trivellato as project leader. The RUs of Padova, Siena, Torino and Venezia were involved in the ongoing project. The distinct feature of the present project is its focus on

  1. aspects of mobility and dynamics in labour force participation and in the patterns of work and on
  2. exercises of impact evaluation of selected labour market programmes. It includes the new RU of Piemonte Orientale.

In the following we place the programme in the relevant scientific background, mainly as regards the previous experience of the members of the research team. References to the broader literature, on the four topics we plan to deal with, are kept to the bare essentials.

U. Trivellato, project leader, has been working on issues of measurement and analysis of the Italian labour market since the middle of the '80s. He and other researchers, most of them members of the team of this project, went on with their research on labour market issues focusing on unemployment and its dynamics (flows and durations). Various contributions, both methodological and empirical, on the labour market attachment of not-employed people and on unemployment dynamics appeared in several well-known journals ("Economia & Lavoro", "European Economic Review", "Journal of Econometrics", "Labour", "Quality & Quantity", "Statistica", "Survey Methodology"). See the papers by Rettore and/or Torelli and/or Trivellato for the years from 1989 to 1998. With the research project on "Labour supply and unemployment: issues of measurement and analysis", co-financed by MURST (from 1997), the research interests of the team widened somewhat, chiefly in three directions.

  1. They began an exploration of the opportunities for labour market analysis provided by administrative databases, chiefly by Netlabor, a database resulting from the administrative process in the state-driven Labour Exchanges.
  2. They extended dynamic analyses to the entire set of labour force gross flows and to the relationships between (un)employment and living conditions (chiefly poverty).
  3. They started a quite new stream of research: monitoring and evaluation of labour market programmes, with attention both to methodological issues and applications.

B. Contini, responsible for the RU of Torino, has worked since the '80s on the development and scientific utilisation of large longitudinal panels originating from administrative sources. The applications have ranged on numerous issues related to the dynamics of Italy's labour market. He and the late R. Revelli developed the design and prototype of the INPS (the national Social Security [SS] institute) Observatory on Firms, Employment and Wages. He has co-authored (with R. Revelli) the first studies on industrial demography in Italy and many theoretical and empirical papers on the dynamics of labour market flows. See chiefly Contini and Revelli (1992). Contini has directed, during the two programs co-financed by MURST (1997 and 1999) just mentioned, the development of a linked employer-employee longitudinal dataset based on SS data, a data source for many empirical analyses by the Torino group.

G. Tattara and the RU of Venezia have done substantial research work on the characteristics of the system of industrial districts in the Veneto region and, more recently, on worker mobility in the same region, using SS data (see Occari, Tattara and Volpe, 1997, and Tattara, 2001).

The members of the RU of Siena, directed by A. Lemmi, in the recent past and more intensively in the last two years have focused their scientific interests on the issues of individual behaviour in the labour market, moving from studies mainly devoted to the measurement of poverty and living conditions (see the papers by Betti and/or Cheli and/or Lemmi).

The RU of Piemonte Orientale is directed by A. Martini, who has a remarkable research experience in the area of social policy evaluation. From 1988 to 1998, he has been Research Economist at Mathematica Policy Research and then Senior Research Associate at the Urban Institute, Washington, DC, where he has been responsible for various research contracts on US social policies, especially on impact evaluation of social and labour market policies (see Martini, 1993 and 1997, and Martini and Trivellato, 1997). A high academic training on the evaluation of industrial policies, documented by a Ph.D., characterises the curriculum and research interests of the other member of the RU, D. Bondonio.

As regards the four topics of our project, outlined in section 2.1, we give now some very brief references to the literature relevant to our purposes.

  1. THE MEASUREMENT OF LABOUR MARKET ATTACHMENT AND MOBILITY. On measures of labour market attachment based on gross flows and durations, two important references are Flinn and Heckman (1983) and Jones and Riddell (1999). For the analysis of labour mobility and worker turnover, see Blanchard e Diamond (1990), Schettkat (1996) and Davis, Haltiwanger and Shuh (1999).
  2. THE DYNAMICS OF PATTERNS OF WORK. In addition to the relevant contributions of members of the research teams of Padova, Torino and Venezia, see Biffl (1997) on immigration and Autori Vari (1998) for many empirical analyses based on linked employer-employee data.
  3. DYNAMIC RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN LIVING CONDITIONS AND WORK PARTICIPATION. Recent empirical studies on the dynamics of poverty include Jarvis and Jenkins (1997), Hills (1998) and Antolin, Dang and Oxley (1999). On statistical methods and models, a basic books is Mátyás and Sevestre (1996); see further the seminal, still very important papers by Heckman (1981a) and (1981b).
  4. IMPACT EVALUATION OF SELECTED LABOUR MARKET PROGRAMMES. The state of the art is summarised in the monographs by Manski (1995) and Rosenbaum (1995) and in the extensive review paper by Heckman, Lalonde and Smith (1999). For the evaluation of industrial policies at regional levels, see Bondonio and Engberg (2000).

Info: anna.giraldo@unipd.it