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Is there skilled-biased technological change in Italian manufacturing? Evidence from firm-level data

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  • Massimiliano Bratti
  • Nicola Matteucci

Abstract

The bulk of the literature on the Skill-Biased Technological Change (SBTC) hypothesis has focused on the US and the UK, while evidence on other countries is ‘mixed’. We use firm-level data to test for the presence of SBTC in Italian manufacturing. The interest stems from the fact that Italy is a “late comer” country, suffers a gap in new technologies and has a ‘rigid’ labour market. We estimate employment-share equations using as a skill-ratio two alternative measures, the ratio between white collars and blue collars (WC/BC) and that between graduates and non-graduates (G/NG). We find an unconventional evidence supporting SBTC. First, with the most traditional indicator (WC/BC), a significant effect of R&D is only found when the latter is disaggregated by destination: SBTC mainly runs via process-oriented R&D. Instead, a significant impact of R&D on the skill-ratio is always uncovered with G/NG. Further disaggregations confirm that the impact of R&D is mainly due to incremental process-oriented activities. These results can be easily reconciled with the structural characteristics of Italian manufacturing, where traditional sectors and small and medium sized firms prevail, innovative activities are mainly incremental and the capacity to absorb skilled labour rather limited.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its journal Brussels economic review.

Volume (Year): 48 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1-2 ()
Pages: 153-182

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Handle: RePEc:bxr:bxrceb:y:2005:v:48:i:1-2:p:153-182

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Keywords: Firm-level; ICT; Italy; Manufacturing; Skill-biased technological change; R&D;

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  1. Eve Caroli & John Van Reenen, 2001. "Skill-Biased Organizational Change? Evidence From A Panel Of British And French Establishments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1449-1492, November.
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  9. David Card & John E. DiNardo, 2002. "Skill-Biased Technological Change and Rising Wage Inequality: Some Problems and Puzzles," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 733-783, October.
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  14. Jacques Mairesse & Nathalie Greenan & Agnes Topiol-Bensaid, 2001. "Information Technology and Research and Development Impacts on Productivity and Skills: Looking for Correlations on French Firm Level Data," NBER Working Papers 8075, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Maren M. Michaelsen, 2011. "The Hidden Increase in Wage Inequality: Skill-biased and Ability-biased Technological Change," Ruhr Economic Papers 0262, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  2. Paolo Seri, 2014. "The role of proximity in retrospective: organizations, ICT and human resources in Italian traditional districts’ firms," Working Papers 1404, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Department of Economics, Society & Politics - Scientific Committee - L. Stefanini & G. Travaglini, revised 2014.
  3. R. Antonietti & D. Antonioli, 2007. "Production offshoring and the skill composition of Italian manufacturing firms A quasi-experimental analysis," Working Papers 594, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  4. Chiara BROCCOLINI & Alessia LO TURCO & Andrea PRESBITERO & Stefano STAFFOLANI, 2007. "International Outsourcing vs. ICT in explaining the wage gap in Italian Manufacturing," Working Papers 299, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
  5. Renato BALDUCCI, 2005. "Public Expenditure and Economic Growth. A critical extension of Barro's (1990) model," Working Papers 240, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
  6. Stefania BUSSOLETTI & Roberto ESPOSTI, 2004. "Regional Convergence, Structural Funds and the Role of Agricolture in the EU. A Panel-Data Approach," Working Papers 220, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
  7. Gabriele BALLARINO & Massimiliano BRATTI, 2006. "Fields of study and graduates? occupational outcomes in Italy during the 90s. Who won and who lost?," Departmental Working Papers 2006-17, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
  8. Antonioli, Davide & Manzalini, Rocco & Pini, Paolo, 2011. "Innovation, workers skills and industrial relations: Empirical evidence from firm-level Italian data," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 312-326, May.
  9. Emmanuelle Walkowiak, 2006. "Renouvellement de la main-d'œuvre et modernisation des entreprises," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 57(6), pages 1205-1233.
  10. Paolo Naticchioni & Andrea Ricci & Emiliano Rustichelli, 2008. "Wage Inequality, Employment Structure and Skill-biased Change in Italy," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 22(s1), pages 27-51, 06.
  11. Sami SAAFI & Fouzi SBOUI, 2011. "LES OPPORTUNITES DES INVESTISSEMENTS DIRECTS ETRANGERS LES OPPORTUNITES DES INVESTISSEMENTS DIRECTS ETRANGERS, DIFFUSION TECHNOLOGIQUE ET DEMANDE DE LA MAIN-D’OEUVRE PAR QUALIFICATION DES INDUSTRIES," Working Papers 240, Laboratoire de Recherche sur l'Industrie et l'Innovation. ULCO / Research Unit on Industry and Innovation.
  12. Paolo Naticchioni & Andrea Ricci & Emiliano Rustichelli, 2007. "Wage Structure, Inequality And Skill-Biased Change: Is Italy An Outlier?," Quaderni del Dipartimento di Economia, Finanza e Statistica 38/2007, Università di Perugia, Dipartimento Economia, Finanza e Statistica.
  13. Roberto ESPOSTI & Pierpaolo PIERANI, 2005. "Price, Private Demand and Optimal Provision of Public R&D in Italian Agriculture," Working Papers 238, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.

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